FINAL: FLORIDA 2, WASHINGTON 1
GAINESVILLE, FL- Florida opened the 2018 season with a tough match against a PAC-12 opponent in Washington on Friday. Despite falling behind in the first half, the Gators scored a pair in the second half to pull ahead for the victory.
- Florida junior MF Sammie Betters scored her second career goal, and her first since 2016.
- Gators sophomore F Madison Alexander scored her first goal of 2018. Alexander scored three goals in her freshman campaign.
- Florida senior GK Kaylan Marckese made four saves on the night, and sits in fifth place in the program’s all time saves hierarchy.
- Florida outshot Washington 15-11, including a 9-4 margin in the second half. Florida committed only three fouls while the Huskies committed eight. Both teams had three opportunities at corner kicks.
Florida found themselves down 1-0 at half. The Huskies scored off a corner with 10:08 left in the opening period.
Head coach Becky Burleigh stated after the game that the message at halftime was “use the width.” Burleigh explained that the middle of the field had been clogged with too many people to get through.
This strategy directly led to Florida’s first goal. Senior Sarah Troccoli crossed a ball to freshman Cassidy Lindley who dropped it for Betters who scored from seven yards out to tie the contest at one just nine minutes into the second half. When asked after the game what she saw, the junior answered simply, “the net.”
Twenty-three minutes later, the Gators took the lead as Alexander scored from eight yards out. Alexander followed a ball that was misplayed by Washington GK Siena Ruelas. Alexander said she saw the empty net and “slotted it in.”
The Gators would hold on from there and move to 1-0 this season while avenging a loss to the Huskies in Seattle in 2017.
Burleigh praised her squad for their resilience while Betters was proud of the way the team came back.
Florida will continue play on opening weekend with a home contest against Florida Atlantic at 6:00 PM on Sunday. The Owls dropped a 3-2 decision to Miami Friday night. Mary O’Hara and Tiril Haga scored for FAU against the Hurricanes.