Special report on the Florida Gators soccer team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. –The opening weekend for preseason No. 7 Gator soccer ended Sunday evening with a 4-2 win over Florida Atlantic at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
Sunday’s match saw both Gator scorers from Friday’s opener striking again, with added goals from a freshman and senior.
Florida scored first in the 15th minute. A cross started at the touchline found Briana Solis at the top of the box. Solis’ shot was blocked and Cassidy Lindley touched the deflection out wide to Melanie Monteagudo. She took a touch toward goal before sending a left-footed strike to the far corner.
Madison Alexander turned in her second goal of the weekend in the 35th minute. She tapped in the ball from eight yards off the assists from seniors Lais Araujo and Sarah Troccoli.
Lindley scored her first collegiate goal within the opening minute of the second half. The freshman caught up with Troccoli’s through ball down the middle of the field to score from six yards.
FAU broke up the shutout in the 52nd minute when Tiril Haga scored from five yards off the deflection of Pernille Velta’s shot.
Sammie Betters headed in the deep cross from Lindley in the 63rd minute for Florida’s fourth goal. It was Betters’ second goal of the weekend as she opened Florida’s scoring in Friday’s 2-1 win versus Washington.
Ebba Blomqvist headed in Emma Jacobs free kick in the 78th minute to finish scoring for the match.
· That was career goal No. 10 for Monteagudo. She is the 39th player in UF’s 24 seasons with 10 or more career goals.
· Through just two matches, Betters set her season-high goals total with two. She also scored one goal in her injury-shortened freshman season in 2016.
· Alexander scores a goal in consecutive matches for the first time. Her five career goals have come in Florida’s last 16 matches.
· Lindley added two assists to go along with her first Gator goal. She also assisted on Florida’s game-winning goal in Friday’s 2-1 win versus Washington.
· Susi Espinoza’s seven saves tonight sets her career high. Her previous high (5) came last season in Florida’s 3-2 win versus No. 1 Stanford.
Florida: 2-0-0, 0-0 SEC
Florida Atlantic: 0-2-0, 0-0 C-USA
What the Gators Said:
First impressions of second game, second win?
“Our goal was to win and to shut them out so we accomplished one of those. Credit to FAU to show some resilience. Both of those goals were from set pieces so we have a focus for the upcoming week.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
Positives you saw today?
“We have the ability to score some pretty goals. Their keeper made a SportsCenter top 10 save so I cannot be too angry about that. We have the ability but we have to do a much better job defensively. There was some great play leading up to the goals but we just have to find our identity both offensively and defensively.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
A Gator scored her first goal today. What have you seen from Cassidy Lindley so far?
“It was definitely exciting for her. She has been very dangerous player offensively and I am sure that is helping with her confidence.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
Talk about the team’s performance and what went well.
“We came out strong and scored pretty early and also kept our composure with the goal. Once we have the lead, we have to find a way to keep it and defend well against set pieces. Once that comes together I think we will be good.” – senior midfielder Melanie Monteagudo
What happened on your goal?
“They [coaches] kept stressing to stay wide and to keep the width all pregame so that is what I did. Cassidy gave me a great ball and I took it to the post.” – senior midfielder Melanie Monteagudo
You scored your first goal as a Gator. What did you see on the play?
“It was definitely exciting to get my first goal. My team has really pushed me in the past few weeks. Mich [Sarah Troccoli] got the ball in, I saw a gap so I made the run in. I saw Madi [Alexander] on the backside so if I did not have the angle then I knew I could cross to her but I saw the back corner and finished with the outside of my foot.
“I’ve been dreaming for this goal since I first committed here.” – freshman forward Cassidy Lindley
You had a pair of assists today.
“Cassidy [Lindley] and Madi [Alexander] have both been great at making those runs. Since last year, Madi has gotten so much better and has been smart with runs. They make it look easy. I am very proud of Cassidy for getting her first goal.” – senior captain Sarah Troccoli
Focus for upcoming practices?
“We just have to work on keeping those leads and defending against set pieces. We obviously have the offensive part so we just have to not have our defense fall apart and keep it strong.” – senior captain Sarah Troccoli
Talk about your performance – you had a career-high seven saves.
“It was a Sunday game so usually the team is tired so I was just trying to stay focused. It was hot so I just had to do whatever I could to stay in the game and help my team win.” – junior goalkeeper Susi Espinoza