Gainesville, Fla— For their first game of the 2020 season, the Florida Gators settled for a 1-1 draw against the Georgia Bulldogs on at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
About the game
Both teams managed to fire off a total of 29 shots, therefore the goalkeepers proved to be the key players of the game as Georgia’s goalie Emory Wegener stopped the ball from getting in seven times; Florida’s goalkeeper, Susi Espinoza, made four great saves.
Only 12 minutes into the game, Florida senior Deanne Rose scored the first game for the Gators. Rose chased down and created space with the ball after being served by Georgia Eaton-Collins from the center circle in the UF half.
Rose right-footed a seven-yard shot and beat Wegener to score at the far corner for a 1-0 Gators lead.
Twenty minutes into the first period, The Gators failed to add to the lead despite a nice attempt on a freekick by Laney Steed.
Three minutes later, Wegener saved the Bulldogs after confusion in Georgia’s box.The Gators did not stop creating chances as Tori Gamble shot from outside the box at the 31-minute mark.
In the 41st minute, Gator defenders lost the ball. 2019 top goal scorer for Georgia, Chole Chapman, intercepted a pass, broke toward goal alone, and won the duel with UF’s goalkeeper to tie the game 1-1.
Florida Gators started the second period with more momentum. Three minutes into the second half Wenger was once again called on to make a key stop.
Espinoza’ save knocked out Abby Boyan’s chance against the Gators in the 49th minute.
In the 69th minute, Espinoza saved the Gators again after redirecting Dany Murguia’s shot.
In the last 25 seconds, the Gator almost scored their second goal of the match, but Collins’ shot was saved by Wegener for a final score of 1-1.
Florida Head Coach Becky Burleigh recognized that the team needs to improve its technical ability, tactics and build momentum in a real week leading up to a game.
It was the team first game in a very long time, but Burleigh thought that the Gators competed hard.
“It was a really physical game. That is something that is 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.” Coach Burleigh said.
As for Espinoza, she was hoping for another another shutout.
She also expressed her disappointment after the Bulldogs scored.
“When I saw her on the breakaway, I tried my best to cover the angle. I did not 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.” Espinoza said
Florida welcomes Alabama next Sunday at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Game time is set for 5 p.m. and airs live on the SEC Network.