TUSCALOOSA, Alabama – The first goals of the season from a pair of Gators gave the Florida soccer team a Southeastern Conference season-opening 2-1 win at Alabama Friday evening in front of an Alabama Soccer Stadium crowd of 771.
All the scoring in the match happened in a four-minute span. The first goal of the match started when Florida was awarded a free kick wide of the top of the 18-yard box. The lofted ball sent in by Christen Westphal went to the far post where Savannah Jordan tried to get a touch on it. The ball bounced around until Liz Slattery touched it in at the near post at the 74thminute.
Senior Lauren Silver put the Gators up 2-0 just over three minutes later.Tessa Andujar earned a corner kick and after some discussion with fellow senior Havana Solaun, it was decided Silver would put the ball in play. Her left-footed ball went untouched into the goal at 77:14.
The Tide cut the lead to 2-1 when Laure Lee Smith one-touched in the cross from Merel van Dongen at 78:00.
Tonight’s win was the first for the Gators in Tuscaloosa since their 6-1 win in 2008. The last two visits to the Alabama Soccer Stadium ended in a tie (2010) and a loss (2012).
- Slattery scored her first goal of the season tonight. Last year, her first collegiate goal came in Florida’s 3-0 win over Alabama in the 2013 SEC opener.
- Tonight’s goal was the first for Silver since her freshman season. Her other goal as a Gator came against Florida Gulf Coast in her freshman season.
Florida: 6-2, 1-0 SEC
Alabama: 4-3-1, 0-1 SEC
Florida leads the series 18-1-2.
In the all-time series, Florida is 7-1-1 in Tuscaloosa. The only loss is came in Florida’s last trip to Alabama in 2012 (1-0 loss).
What Becky Burleigh Said:
On this evening’s match:
“We haven’t come out of Alabama with a win for a while, so we were happy with that.
“I just think that is very difficult when they have 11 people behind the ball at all times. It is hard to find space. I thought we did some good things to score the goals we did because they were both really scrappy goals. That just shows that we can do finesse or do power – whatever we need. In that case, we got two goals because we were tough.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
What happened on the Gators’ first goal?
“Christen [Westphal] served a great ball in. I got the first touch with my head. It bounced around in the box and then me and this girl basically kicked it in at the same time. It was a scrappy goal, but they all count the same.” – sophomore midfielder Liz Slattery
What happened on your goal?
“Havana [Solaun] asked me to take the corner, so I did. It was just a ball put on frame, which is something we practice. But ultimately it is the movement of the people in the box. Honestly, it was their movement which opened up the spacing for me to put it in the goal. So props to those three players who moved off the ball which allowed me to slide it in there.” – senior defender Lauren Silver
Was Lauren Silver trying to score when she took that corner kick?
“Lauren was trying to put it near post. There were people running across the face of the goalkeeper and that’s what happens when you serve a good ball and people make good runs.” Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
On playing at home after six consecutive road matches:
“We are going to be really excited to be at home for the first time in a long time. It will give us a chance to have a full week of practice. Last week we only had one day so I’m pretty excited to be coming back for some home games.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
Florida registers its first win in Tuscaloosa since 2008. On the last two visits to Tuscaloosa, Florida lost (1-0, 2012) and tied (1-1 2OT, 2010) the Crimson Tide.
All-time, Florida is 16-3-1 in SEC openers.
Preseason Conference Votes:
Florida shared the 2013 Southeastern Conference title with Texas A&M as each team posted 9-2 league records. Alabama took 12th in the SEC in 2013 with its 4-7 record.
Florida – The Gators are picked to win the Southeastern Conference.
UA – The Crimson Tide is picked to take 12th in the SEC.
Florida is ranked No. 7 on the fourth National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) poll.
After six consecutive road matches, Florida returns home to play host to a pair of SEC matches. The weekend opens with No. 24 Georgia on Friday, Sept. 26. Match time at the James G. Pressly Stadium is 7 p.m. The first 500 fans and 500 UF students receive Florida tank tops. SECNetwork+ will stream the match.
Then Florida plays host to Missouri at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium on Sunday, Sept. 28. Match time is set for 2 p.m. and the match airs live on ESPNU. It can also be seen WatchESPN.
Georgia opens SEC play Sunday with a home match versus Vanderbilt. Missouri defeated LSU 3-1 Friday in the SEC opener for both Tiger teams.