Florida Gators soccer defeats Kentucky 4-2 at home

Special report on the Florida Gators soccer team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Four consecutive goals by four different Gators led to a 4-2 win over Kentucky on a perfect Sunday afternoon at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

The Gators fell behind when the Wildcats scored off an early first-half set play, but then Florida rattled off four straight goals to take control of the match.

Sunday’s scoring:
The Wildcats took advantage of their first corner kick opportunity. The Gator header clearance attempt bounced in the box where Julia Grosso’s right-footed volley scored in the 17th minute.

A pair of Gator freshmen provided two goals from distance to close opening half scoring. Laney Steed’s left-footed volley off the ball from Vanessa Kara scored from the top of the box in the 26th minute.

The final goal of the opening half started when Kit Loferski brought the ball down the right touchline. Her cross to Alyssa Howell located at the near post was sent out to Ava Kuyken at the top of the box. Kuyken took a touch to create space and then sent a right-footed 18-yard shot that scored at the far post upper corner.

Kouri Peace continued the freshman scoring trend, opening the second half with a goal in the 50th minute. Junior Deanne Rose sent an angled ball into the box. Peace moved past her defender and then scored from 15 yards.

A set play led to the Gators final goal. Parker Roberts hit an 18-yard shot off the free kick in the 64th minute.

In the 71st minute, Kentucky’s Jordyn Rhodes cut the lead in half after successfully converting a penalty kick.

Worth Noting

*   Florida’s opening two goals by Laney Steed and Ava Kuyken were the first of their Gator career.
*   Two Gators recorded their first assists of the season – Vanessa Kara (Steed goal) and Alyssa Howell (Kuyken goal).
*   Parker Roberts scored her third goal of the season – equaling her collegiate season high (3 as a freshman at Kansas in 2015 and 2017 as a sophomore at Florida).
*   With the goals by Steed and Kuyken, 12 different Gators have scored this season. That equals the high number of goal scorers (also 12 in 2016 and 2014) since 13 different Gators scored through the first 14 matches of the 2005 season.
*   Roberts is now in a three-way tie at four for the Gators’ assist lead (Kit Loferski and Cassidy Lindley also with four assists in 2019)
*   Junior Deanne Rose and freshman Ava Kuyken rejoined the Gator lineup after national team commitments. Rose missed the Texas A&M and Mississippi matches to join Canada Senior National team for a friendly in Japan. Kuyken also missed the match at Vanderbilt to play for England in Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Women’s Under-19 Championship first round play in Belarus.
*   The Gators also celebrated Head Coach Becky Burleigh’s birthday today. Florida is now 6-0 playing on Oct. 13, with the last competition on her birthday coming in 2006.
Pink Match:
The Gators wore pink today to show their support for those fighting cancer. Florida is now 11-0 in its Pink Match events.

Florida: 9-5-0, 5-1-0 SEC
Kentucky: 5-8-2, 0-6-0 SEC

What the Gators Said:
On today’ win:
“We wanted to see a bounce back from Mississippi. From a result standpoint, we had that. We have to work hard at being more precise with our execution. We had some great finishes – the freshman stepped up big time with three of today’s four goals.

“It says a lot when you can come back from a goal down. If we played the first 20 minutes like we did in the first 20 minutes of the second half, then maybe it’s a totally different game. That’s hard; you’re asking something difficult. It’s a big time mental focus and precision when it may not be required, but that’s what good teams do.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh

Pink Match:
“We have two people close to our program that I dedicated my game to; Jasmine Johnson, a former player, who just had a bone marrow transplant for leukemia and Melanie Peace, the mother of Mary Peace who played for us last year.

“You just can’t take moments for granted. I know that very well with my mom having had multiple types of cancers. When you are playing for something bigger than yourself, it helps you get focused in and realize that moments are precious.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh

On team’s recent success:
“We’ve been doing a good job focusing on each game and not paying attention to any future games. The next game is always the most important one to us. We are putting all of our energy into one game, which is helping us succeed.” – freshman Kouri Peace

On scoring on same day as Ava Kuyken:
“It’s honestly awesome. Today, we both went up to each other [before the match] and grabbed each other’s shoulders and said ‘This is our day – we are going to score’.

“We are roommates so we are together all the time. We practice all the time and do everything together. It was just so much more special that we both had our first today. We just looked at each other with a look of amazement in both of our eyes.” – freshman Laney Steed

On first collegiate goal:
“It felt really good. Scoring after 1-1, it allowed us to gain momentum and score more goals.” – freshman Ava Kuyken

On team’s success:
“Every week we write a thank you note to the team we played before. We said last week, thank you for teaching us that every game is a challenge. We came in knowing it was going to be a hard game and we’d have to bring a top performance.” – freshman Ava Kuyken

Next Up:
The Gators continue home Friday versus Auburn.

Friday, Oct. 18 versus Auburn (6-5-2, 3-2-0 SEC – as of Oct. 10)
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Site: Donald R. Dizney Stadium<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_facilities_-3Fid-3D8&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=IdGG7NjeQ8gVkue69MvPSyE6QviaibCpW1rTS0_9RqI&s=bGQ0z8Njovm5OOdPtXWRdfWymo4TpxpGFF4LDGDMJHg&e= >
Television: none
Stream Video: SEC Network + with action called by Kyle Crooks and Matthew Stubbington
Radio: ESPN 98.1FM / 850AM WRUF<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__radio.securenetsystems.net_cirruscontent_WRUFAM&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=IdGG7NjeQ8gVkue69MvPSyE6QviaibCpW1rTS0_9RqI&s=8cxx6bzQlVRatm_T7zQ7znwu-PjwGHwpqoLyrXeYfCs&e= > with action with action called by Skyler Lebron and Taylor Burke
Live Stats<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=https-3A__floridagators.com_sidearmstats_wsoc_summary&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=IdGG7NjeQ8gVkue69MvPSyE6QviaibCpW1rTS0_9RqI&s=Dkq8ef0RHqLHzAa6ig9F0D2FP4Af9Ws7GZf3W2ykteI&e= >
Admission: Free
Promotions: Scarf Giveaway – The first 250 fans in attendance receive a free Florida Gators soccer scarf!; Post-game Fireworks Show – Following the match there will be a fireworks show that lights up the sky. Stay in your seats and enjoy the show!

Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.