FINAL: FLORIDA 6, KENTUCKY 0
LEXINGTON, KY- The Florida soccer team has finally found the win column after crushing Kentucky by a 6-0 final. The Gators were 0-6-1 in their previous seven games which included a stretch of 677 minutes of action without a goal. For Florida, the hope is this game sparks the offense as the Gators move into the teeth of their SEC slate. Florida is now 3-6-1 overall and 1-1 in SEC play. Kentucky falls to 4-7 overall and 0-2 in conference action.
Florida raced out to a 4-0 lead in the first half thanks to the natural hat-trick by senior midfielder Lais Araujo and the first career goal by senior forward Alyssa Howell.
Araujo started the scoring in the 14th minute, capitalizing on a cross into the box by Mayra Pelayo from the right wing. Pelayo and Madison Alexander were each credited with the assists on the goal.
The same trio combined on the second goal in the 24th minute as Araujo scored off the feed from Alexander. Alexander was running the middle of the field and sent the ball through the defense to Araujo who found the back of the net off a single touch. Pelayo earned the second assist.
Araujo completed the hat-trick with a 31st minute goal from about twenty yards out. Araujo stayed with the ball after her first attempt bounced off a Kentucky defender’s back and sent the shot to far side of the net just out of the keepers reach.
Howell headed in a cross from freshman Cassidy Lindley for her first goal as a Gator. The senior who has played sparingly in her time at Florida has twice earned SEC Academic Honor Roll honors.
During the halftime interview with the SEC Network broadcast team, head coach Becky Burleigh stated that they hoped to preserve the shut out.
Florida did just that while also keeping the foot on the gas, scoring a pair of goals in the second half.
Alexander and Pelayo would find the back of the net to push the lead to 6-0.
Alexander scored from inside the six yard box after a touch from Melanie Monteagudo went across the box where she had an easy tap-in for the goal. For Alexander, it was her third goal of the season.
Pelayo tacked on one in the 81st minute after a one-touch pass along the ground found its way to Pelayo who was able to squeak it past the Kentucky goalkeeper.
In total, Florida attempted 14 shots with six making it on net (and in the net).
Florida senior GK Kaylan Marckese finished the contest with three saves, including a big stop early in the game before the Gators had taken the lead. Florida’s defense stifled the Wildcats as Kentucky was unable to attempt a second half shot despite Florida rotating in a bevy of players with the big lead.
- Araujo had scored four Florida goals in a row after scoring the only goal in Florida’s 2-1 loss to Vanderbilt on Sunday.
- With six points in Thursday’s match, Lais Araujo has taken over the team lead with nine. Madison Alexander moves into second with four points Thursday (8 total).
- Araujo’s hat-trick was the first for a UF player since Savannah Jordan did in 2015 against Miami
- Florida moves into the middle of the pack in the SEC, where only four teams remain unbeaten in conference play (Vanderbilt, Auburn, Georgia, Missouri).
The Gators will continue SEC play on Sunday with a home date against LSU. The match is scheduled for a 1:00 PM kickoff. LSU played Auburn to a scoreless draw on Thursday and sits at 6-3-1 on the season and 0-1-1 in SEC play.