Gainesville Fl.- Coach Becky Burleigh admitted that tactical adjustments helped the Gators secure a 2-1 win over a spirited Alabama squad at the Dizney R Stadium on Sunday.
“The first half I thought Alabama cam
e out and pressed us really hard,” Burleigh said. “Our team really stepped up to the challenge of being down and wanting to win that game. But I think it was the tactical change too that really helped us get back to our identity.”
Despite falling behind 0-1 early in the first half, Burleigh’s protégés produced a complete team performance to battle back and claim the team’s first victory of the season against an No.15 Alabama Crimson Tide.
Four minutes into the game, Tide freshman Sydney Vincens intercepted the ball after a dangerous playback to Susi Espinoza to open the scoring. However, senior Maddison Alexander scored to tie the game before sophomore Alivia Gonzalez went on to score her first collegiate goal, a game winner.
4′: Kit Loferski threw the ball in on the right side to Georgia Eaton-Collins. Vincens caught Collins’ pass, past Espinoza, and poked the ball into the goal. Gators are looking at an early 0-1 deficit.
6′: Confusion in Alabama’s box. Alabama’s goalkeeper Mckinley Crone knocked down Loferski’s attempt. A rebound from Cassidy Lindley brought the ball to Maddy Rhodes. However, it was a bad finish for the Gators.
62′: Kouri Peace served freshman Rhodes making a run through the far side of the box. Then, Rhodes’ centering pass found Alexander at the near post who back heel flipped the ball inside the goal. Thus, Gators 1-1.
80′: Laney Steed‘s killer pass to Peace almost worsen the situation for Alabama. Crone excused Peace’s attempt and backed it over the bar.
81′: Steed lofted the ball on the air. Rhodes headed the ball toward the goal but saved by Crone.
88′: Steed executed a corner into Alabama’s box. Gonzalez went in with a head, but goal killer Crone stopped this action again.
89′: With a minute left on the clock, both teams were heading to extra minutes. The Gators did not say their last word yet. The game-winner goal was a look-alike of Florida’s tying game. Loferski served Peace who made a right-side run. Gonzalez leaped to catch the ball with her right shin and scored the winning goal for the Gators.
For the Gators, it was another win against Alabama. Since 1995, the Gators have only lost once against the Crimson Tides.
Florida’s first road test is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. against Texas A&M in College Station.