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UF Soccer: Gators lose to Vanderbilt 2-1 in double overtime

The Gators wore their pink kits for the program’s 12th annual Kicking for the Cure match (cancer awareness).

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

A scramble for the ball at the far post produced the overtime winner for Vanderbilt soccer, as VU claimed a 2-1 double overtime win over Florida Sunday evening at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

Sunday’s scoring:

Florida scored the only goal of the opening half in the 41st minute. The searching ball sent forward by Parker Roberts found freshman Maddy Rhodes making a run down the center of the box. Her sliding right foot just beat the converging duo of Commodore defenders to score Rhodes’ first Gator goal.

The Commodores knotted the score in the 80th minute. From deep in the Florida box, Abi Brighton sent an angled ball up to Raegan Kelley, who put it in with a one-time swipe of her right foot. It was Kelley’s first goal for 2020.

The winner started with a lofted ball from Leila Azari to the far post in the 103rd minute. A pair from each team were there, but it was VU’s Myra Konte who got the touch in the scramble to get VU’s first golden goal of 2020.

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Worth Noting:

  *   Maddy Rhodes’ goal is her first of her Gator career. The last three matches have seen a Gator score their first collegiate goal – Alivia Gonzalez (vs. Alabama), Syd Kennedy (at Texas A&M) and Rhodes.
  *   Four Gators made their first collegiate starts Sunday – Alivia Gonzalez, Tori Grambo, Syd Kennedy, and Sydney Urban.
  *   Florida played overtime for the second time in 2020, and Sunday was VU’s third OT (and second consecutive).
  *   In the 33 all-time meetings between these two programs, this was the third overtime (first since 2004) and first in Gainesville. It was UF’s first overtime loss to the Commodores.
  *   Florida redshirt junior Kit Loferski left the match in the 57th minute after taking a hard tumble.

What the Gators Said:

On team’s performance…

“It’s a very disappointing way to lose because I felt like we were much more ourselves tonight than we have been. If you look at just the outcome, obviously you’re not satisfied with it, but if you look at the way that we played, it was a big improvement. – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh

On Gator goalkeeper Susi Espinoza’s impact on team…

“That position is huge and Suzi’s done a great job making some big saves when necessary.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh

On attacking play…

“I definitely felt like we were a little more connected with one another and I think that led to more offensive chances for us for sure.”- Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh

On scoring first collegiate goal…

“It feels really great. Parker Roberts just played a great ball. It was fantastic. All I had to do was touch the ball and it felt great.

“Afterwards I was like ‘Parker, that was superb.’ All I had to do was just run onto it. But it feels great to finally get my name on the board and I hope to score many more goals after this.” – freshman forward Maddy Rhodes

On what playing in Kicking for the Cure match means to her and team…

“We talked before the game, everybody on this team has been affected by cancer in some way. We have Lo [senior Lauren Evans] who battled leukemia. So pink is obviously breast cancer, but my grandfather died of lung cancer.” – freshman forward Maddy Rhodes

On what today’s Kicking for the Cure, cancer awareness match meant to the team..

“Every year this game is a chance to get outside of yourself and to play for someone else. I think this game really makes it personal because almost everyone on our team has had some person in their family affected by cancer.” – Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh

Next Up:

Florida travels to meet No. 15 South Carolina in Columbia, S.C., on Sunday, Oct. 25 at 2 p.m. The Gamecocks are coming off a 2-1 win last Friday at No. 3 Arkansas.

The UF at South Carolina match airs live on the SEC Network.