Photo by Kristen Oliff /

On what seemed an extra humid afternoon even by Gainesville standards, the No. 20 Gators (10-6-1) tied No. 8 South Carolina (12-1-3) in their last home game of the regular season.


First Half

Florida came into Sunday’s match trying to rebound from a tough 1-0 loss at Tennessee on Thursday. The Gamecocks, meanwhile, had not lost since SEC play began just over a month ago.

Over 700 fans piled into Donald R. Dizney stadium on Sunday to help the Gators celebrate senior day, but they were left wanting more after the first half.

Other than a chance in the opening minutes when freshman Kouri Peace almost found the back of the net for Florida, both teams struggled to carve out solid attacking opportunities.

The game was scoreless heading into halftime. The Gators registered five shots compared to South Carolina’s two.

Second Half

Junior forward Deanne Rose, who was subbed on at the start of the second half, brought needed energy to Florida’s forwards. She and freshman Peace each generated some chances when play resumed.

The Gators did not break through until the 70th minute, though, when center back Julia Lester won the ball back in midfield. She looked up and fed Rose who slid the ball past the oncoming South Carolina keeper to put Florida up 1-0. It was fitting that Lester, a senior, registered her first point for the Gators since 2017 on Senior Day.

The Gamecocks proved they came to fight just 13 minutes later, though, when they equalized against the run of play. Sophomore forward Riley Tanner was on the end of a ball over the top and fired a shot from the left side of the box past Susi Espinoza.

Rose had a close-range effort saved in the 85th minute, but neither team could find a winner in regulation. South Carolina would head to overtime for the third time in their last four games.

Each team registered three shots after regulation, but none would find their way to the back of the net. After 110 minutes, the match ended in a 1-1 draw, the first draw of the season for the Gators.

Gator Outlook

Florida next plays on Thursday when they travel to Athens, Georgia to face a Bulldogs team clinging to a spot in the SEC tournament (7-6-1).

After the Georgia game, Florida begins postseason play in the conference tournament. The top ten SEC teams make it, and Florida sits near the top of the standings. The Gators trail only South Carolina in points in the SEC East table.