Special report on the Florida Gators soccer team:
FORT MYERS, Fla. – Florida soccer battled not only the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles, but also the weather to take a 1-0 win Sunday afternoon at Pickering Field.
Just after the opening five minutes of play, lightning forced the teams from the field for nearly an hour and half. Although the lightning ended, rain showers started soon after the team returned to play and continued on and off throughout the remainder of the match.
Florida scored the match’s only goal in the 54th minute in the midst of one of those rain showers. Junior Alivia Gonzalez decided to use that weather element to her advantage.
“It was raining and the ground was slick. I knew anything on the ground would be rebounded out or go in,” Gonzalez said. “Nicole [Vernis] had the ball going down the center and I just called for it. She passed it and I tried to drive it as hard as I could on the ground.”
For the match, Florida outshot the Eagles 14-11. Florida goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg turned in four saves and the Eagles’ Mia Krusinski turned in five.
* The goal was Gonzalez’s first of the season and her third point of 2021. She recorded her first assist of the season Thursday at Florida State. It is her third Gator goal as she scored twice last season.
* The assist was the first of her Gator career for redshirt sophomore Nicole Vernis.
* Florida’s win was not only the team’s first of 2021, but also the first for Tony Amato who was named UF’s second head coach in May.
* This was Florida’s first trip to Fort Myers to face FGCU in the all-time series. Florida now leads the series 7-0.
Florida (1-4-1, 0-0 SEC)
Florida Gulf Coast (2-3, 0-0 ASUN)
Florida leads 7-0
What the Gators Said:
On today’s match:
“We got a win and we feel good about it. We had a day less rest than they did and it was a Sunday road game. The team made no excuses and was able to push through, work really hard and grind it out to find the goal and win the game. Thought it was a good step for us and will be something we can reference as we start navigating conference play.” – Florida Head Coach Tony Amato
Did lightning delay give the Gators a reset today?
“I thought it was a bit messy before the lightning delay as we gave up a couple of scoring opportunities. We were able to regroup, talk through some things and answer some questions. Thought the team did a really good job of responding to the things we talked about and the performance got a lot better as the game wore on.” – Florida Head Coach Tony Amato
What do you attribute the Gators’ ability to control much of the second half play?
“We kept making little adjustments like we were able to find some players in front of their backs. We created some opportunities and the goal eventually came. Thought we created some other good opportunities as well. We wanted to make sure we gave ourselves a chance by creating some volume chances and I thought we did a good job of that.” – Florida Head Coach Tony Amato
On team’s reset after lightning delay and today’s result:
“Like we were saying, the soccer gods gave us another chance. We didn’t come out how we wanted to come out in the first five minutes. We took time in the locker room and came out 20 times better than we started the game.
“Everyone is super excited for the win. It will help us heading into our upcoming matches and gives us momentum.” – junior Alivia Gonzalez.
Florida continues Thursday action versus top-20 teams when No. 2 North Carolina makes its first trip to Gainesville to face UF since 1998. UNC is 6-0 after its 2-1 overtime win Sunday over No. 10 Stanford. .
The Gators have faced a top-20 team each Thursday of the 2021 season – at No. 19 South Florida (2-1 loss), No. 20 Central Florida (2-0 loss), at No. 1 Florida State (5-2 loss). That equals the national high for top-20 opponents for the 2021 season.
Thursday, Sept. 9
* Time: 7 p.m. ET
* Stadium: Donald R. Dizney Stadium<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_sports_2020_4_4_donald-2Dr-2Ddizney-2Dstadium.aspx&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=pnOpAqk7cpVd1hdtprk8_4LZfolQrT8pS15UFsVs-lk&s=bR3UceMZ0MwEOdE-uFWC3jYgTLn1A9bDDjDQ1KCBTyM&e= >
* Streaming Video: SEC Network + with Kyle Crooks and Matthew Stubbington calling the action
* Radio: GatorVision
* Tickets: Free
* Live Stats<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__stats.statbroadcast.com_statmonitr_-3Fid-3D354808&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=pnOpAqk7cpVd1hdtprk8_4LZfolQrT8pS15UFsVs-lk&s=kNWp8nxNfyR_53oV4IziKeswPZxRh2EEZ4CPqDwBlq4&e= >
Florida (1-4-1, 0-0-0 SEC) at Florida Gulf Coast (2-3-0, ASUN 0-0-0)
Stadium: Pickering Field (345)
Weather: 87 degrees, W winds at 5 mph, 64% humidity. On and off showers
Goals by Periods
Florida Gulf Coast
Shots: Florida 14, Florida Gulf Coast 11
Saves: Florida 4 (Alexa Goldberg 4); FGCU 5 (Mia Krusinski 5)
Cautions: Kit Loferski-UF/yellow (31:17), Cece Price-UF/yellow (38:48), Meagan Gruber/FGCU/yellow (60:16)