The No. 6 Florida Gator soccer team couldn’t come back against No. 12 Tennessee on Sunday afternoon losing to the Volunteers 4-2 at the Regal Soccer Complex in Knoxville.
In the first half the Gators trailed 2-0 in front of 1,480 Tennessee fans.
The first shot of the match was a Volunteer goal just four minutes into the game.
The goal was a result of a Gator mistake as Alexis Owens took advantage of a back pass to Gator goalkeeper Taylor Burke on the left side of the box. The 10-yard shot to the far post corner put up the first point of the game.
Tennessee added another point to their lead when the Gators turned over the ball in midfield to Emily Dowd.
Owens scored another goal when she took a wide pass on top of the left corner of the penalty box.
In a press release, head coach Becky Burleigh said the early mistakes were hard to recover from.
“We just dug a deep hole for ourselves early on our own mistakes,” Burleigh said. “We did a good job of recovering from that in the second half but it wasn’t enough.”
The Gators were able to get on the scoreboard early in the second half with a penalty kick when Jillian Graff was fouled by Kylie Bono.
In the second penalty kick of the season for the Gators, Erika Tymrak converted the penalty kick. She put a point on the board and her season goal total moved up to eight.
Florida’s come back efforts in the second half weren’t strong enough to pull off a win.
“It wasn’t enough of a comeback, Burleigh said. “We have to use that energy that we came back with and some composure. We had the energy and at times, the composure, but not quite enough.”
The Gators did continue to fight when the team narrowed the lead to just one goal in the 65th minute.
Freshman Havana Soluan received a long pass from Jo Dragotta and battled with the Vol goalkeeper Julie Eckel. The goalkeeper beat Soluan to the ball, but the ball ended up hitting Soluan in the thigh and went right into the unguarded net.
The final score of the match came from Owens. She took a long pass from Brown and moved up the left side. She earned her first collegiate hat-trick when she slotted the ball past the driving keeper and a sliding defender.
“I give credit to Tennessee for having six shots and scoring four goals,” Burleigh said. “That is efficiency in finishing.”
After playing four road matches, the Gators will return for four matches of SEC rivals at home.
The Gators will return to James G. Pressly Stadium on Sept. 30 at 7 p.m., against eastern division rival Vanderbilt.