Special report on the Florida Gators soccer team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida saw its season end with a 4-2 loss to No. 17 South Florida in NCAA Opening Round play Friday at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
It took South Florida senior Evelyne Viens 12 minutes and 24 seconds to score a hat-trick and put the Bulls in control of the match.
South Florida scored the only goal of the opening half in the 43rd minute. Rosalia Muino Gonzalez’s pass found Viens in the box. Viens’ low 14-yard shot scored at the far post.
Andrea Hauksdottir won the ball at the top of the Gators defensive third. She sent the ball ahead to the middle of the box for Viens, who won her 1v1 battle to one touch the ball in with her left foot from 15 yards in the 52nd minute.
Viens completed her hat-trick just over three minutes later. Aubrey Megrath’s shot from seven-yards was deflected back into play and the Gators couldn’t clear it cleanly. Sydney Nasello touched ball out to Viens at the corner of the box. She took a touch and then took advantage of UF’s Susi Espinoza off her line to score on a right-footed 16-yard shot.
Florida’s Deanne Rose scored in 62nd minute after winning the ball at the top of the Bulls’ defensive third. She drove toward goal and scored from 16 yards.
The final two goals came in a span of 32 seconds. The Bulls’ Fanny Pelletier-Laroche headed in the corner kick from Andrea Hauksdottir in the 84th minute.
Then the Gators scored off a corner kick. Kit Loferski sent the ball from endline to the middle of the box. With her back to goal, Parker Roberts’ one-touched the ball out to her left to find Georgia Eaton-Collins at the top corner of the six-yard box. Eaton-Collins stepped to the ball to touch it in her first collegiate goal with her left foot at 84:09.
* This was Florida’s 22nd NCAA Championship appearance. This was the fifth time Florida was eliminated after playing its opening match.
* This is the 20th time a NCAA opponent was a team Florida faced earlier in the season. This is the third time UF won the regular-season meeting and lost in NCAA action. Florida is now 35-19-4 overall in NCAA play.
* This is the first loss in all-time series with USF. UF leads the series 6-1-1.
Florida: 11-9-1, 6-3-1 SEC
South Florida: 15-4, 7-2 AAC
What the Becky Burleigh Said:
“Congrats to USF. They played a great game. You are going to win a lot of games when you score four goals. I wish them luck in the next round.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
On team’s growth this season:
“The toughest part of ending your season is knowing that the current team as it exists, doesn’t anymore. This is the last opportunity we’ll have to be together as a group. There were times when we played some of the best soccer we’ve played. There’s a lot of bright futures for that. In the end, we have to translate some of that really good soccer into results.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
On senior class:
“This senior class is a really important class in our program’s history. They are the first class that had to rebound from a really tough season. I give them a lot of credit for what they did to help this program rebound from last year. We’ve got some really big personalities on this team in different ways.
“With the seniors, some of them are big personalities in their presence and some of them are just big personalities in what they bring every day, whether it’s to practice or to the standard of this team. It’s going to be a group that’s going to be missed. Some really, really, good people in this senior class.” – – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
On message to team:
“It’s the hardest thing in coaching. If you don’t win – which is all teams but one – I think it’s really tough. You just know when you are standing on the field for the last time that it’s the last time that team exists. For us, we need to cherish that moment. It’s hard to cherish a moment where you feel so hurt by the result. It’s a big mix of emotions.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
On season ending:
“You never want it to be your last game, especially with this group of people. They’re so special. They’ve changed my life. They’re some of the best people I know. There’s something to look forward to always. Everything happens for a reason so it’s something to go off of.” – redshirt junior Parker Roberts
On setting the tone early next season:
“This season and this team has proved what we are capable of. Going forward we have to uphold the standard that we set throughout this season. We’ve shown that we are capable of playing through anyone and against anybody. Tonight wasn’t our night and that happens. It’s definitely something that we can use as motivation going forward and we can help the freshman coming in to uphold the standard that we are capable of.” – redshirt junior Parker Roberts
South Florida faces the winner of Sunday’s Seattle at Washington match in NCAA Second Round action next Friday. The site for NCAA Second and Third Round play will be announced later this weekend.
No. 17 South Florida (15-4, 7-2 AAC) at Florida (11-9-1, 6-3-1 SEC)
Stadium: Donald R. Dizney Stadium (320)
Weather: 57 degrees, winds NW at 8 mph, 96% humidity
Goals by Period
Rosalia Muino Gonzalez
Aubrey Megrath, Sydny Nasello
Shots: South Florida 18, Florida 14
Saves: South Florida 6 (Sydney Martinez 6); Florida 2 (Susi Espinoza 2)
Fanny Pelletier-Laroche-USF – yellow (28:49); Kouri Peace-UF – yellow (75:31)