Special report on the Florida Gators soccer team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida soccer tied No. 8 Georgia 1-1 in double overtime Sunday afternoon at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
It was the second overtime in the 35 all-time meetings between these Southeastern Conference rivals. The last tie? It was the first meeting on Oct. 15, 1995 (0-0 2OT final).
Florida senior Deanne Rose put the Gators on the board in the 12th minute. From just outside the center circle from the UF half, junior Georgia Eaton-Collins sent a ball into space above the Bulldog box. Rose tracked it down and opened up space as she moved into the box. Her right footed seven-yard shot beat the sliding UGA goalkeeper to score at the far corner.
Georgia’s Chole Chapman intercepted a pass between Gator defenders and then headed toward goal. She won the duel with UF’s goalkeeper, tying the match in the 41st minute.
Florida’s Susi Espinoza recorded four saves Sunday, including a pair of key second-half stops. UGA’s Kayla Bruster shot from just wide of the goal in the 63rd minute was deflected out of goal by Espinoza. Just over 10 minutes later, Abby Boyan took the return pass and was moving through the box. Espinoza closed down space and used her outstretched right hand to knock down Boyan’s shot.
* This is the second time Florida opens a season with a tie. The other came in the 2006 opener when Florida and No. 1 Portland tied 1-all.
* No. 8 Georgia is the third top-10 opponent Florida has faced in a season opener. Florida is now 0-1-2 versus top-10 teams in an opener (1997 – 2-1 loss vs. No. 1 North Carolina; 2006 – 1-1 2OT vs. No. 1 Portland).
* This was Florida’s second attempt to open the 2020 campaign. Positive COVID-19 tests for three players and widespread quarantines for those in their direct contact postponed Florida’s original season opener, set for Saturday, Sept. 19 at Missouri.
* One freshman – forward Maddy Rhodes – was among the Gators’ starting lineup. At least one freshman has been among the opener’s starters 20 of the programs 26 seasons.
* In addition to Rhodes, eight others made their Gator debuts Sunday – freshmen Tori Grambo, Izzy Kadzban, Delaney Tauzel, Sydney Urban, Ashlyn Kane and Nicole Vernis (redshirt freshman) and two transfers – Ansley Frazier and Shaye Seyffart. A total of 24 Gators played Sunday.
Florida: 0-0-1, 0-0-1 SEC
Georgia: 1-0-1, 1-0-1 SEC
What the Becky Burleigh Said:
“Given the situation where it was difficult to get momentum going into this game, I think we competed hard. We need to improve upon our technical ability and tactics and build momentum in a real week leading up to a game. That’s going to be so nice. That was our very first game in a very long time.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
On physical play…
“It was a really physical game. That’s something that’s hard to prepare for in training because that’s not necessarily our style of play. And the fact that we were able to step up and handle that says a lot of good things about us.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
On freshman playing…
“We played with a lot of people. That was really good for everyone to get their feet wet. There were a lot of freshmen and transfers that played. The fact that we trusted them with the game on the line says a lot.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh
On bouncing back after Georgia goal…
“We were hoping for a shutout. When I saw her on the breakaway, I tried my best to cover the angle. I was a little disappointed as a goalkeeper that we got scored on. But I didn’t think it was anything we wouldn’t be able to come back from. It happens, but we knew we could turn around and get back after it.” – senior goalkeeper Susi Espinoza
On playing in the first game…
After 14 days of quarantine, you can definitely feel it in the second half and in the two overtimes. For the second half, keeping a clean sheet gave us the opportunity to score and potentially win.” – senior goalkeeper Susi Espinoza
Florida continues home play next Sunday versus No. 15 Alabama. In its last outing, Alabama tied Mississippi State 1-1 2OT on Friday in Starkville, Miss. Sunday’s match time is set for 5 p.m. and airs live on the SEC Network.
No. 8 Georgia (1-0, 1-0 SEC) at Florida (0-0, 0-0 SEC)
Stadium: Donald R. Dizney Stadium (368)
Weather: 84 degrees, 5 mph SW winds, 73% humidity
Goals by Period
Shots: Georgia 15, Florida 14
Saves: Georgia 7 (Emory Wegener 7), Florida 4 (Susi Espinoza 4)
Delany Tauzel/UF – yellow (28:06), Cameron Hall/UF – yellow (102:42)