Julianne Leskauskas made herself a headline Thursday night. In the second minute of overtime, the Rutgers transfer received a pass from Maddy Rhodes and took a shot off her left foot. The ball sailed to the top right of the net pinballing in to give the Gators the golden goal for their second win of the season.
“Wow!” Leskauskas reacted to her goal. “No thoughts on my mind, I was just like ‘I can’t believe that just happened. I was in shock, definitely. I’m still at a loss for words right now.”
The Gators defeated the Wildcats 1-0 in their home opener of SEC play to improve to 2-5-3 (1-0-1 in SEC play) and dropping Kentucky to 6-3-2.
Offensive pressure arrived late in the first for Florida when they found themselves positioned to get on the board in the 38th minute. Sophomore transfer Julianne Leskauskas lined up for a free kick from beyond the box, but her shot was just off target giving Kentucky a goal kick.
Senior Georgia Eaton-Collins would control the ball off the goal kick at midfield and send a phenomenal ball upfield to find junior Alivia Gonzalez. Gonzalez’s attempt at getting on the scoreboard would sail just above the crossbar.
Kentucky goal leader Hannah Richardson was a threat to Florida all night taking five shots. The junior’s best opportunity of the five came when she created space, positioning herself in front of Alexa Goldberg for a 1-on-1. Richardson was unable to control the ball and her shot sailed high.
The match would head into overtime at a score of 0-0 for the third straight time for the Gators. Leskauskas’ golden goal would give the Gators their first overtime win of the season in five such matches.
Alexa Goldberg had yet another impressive night, adding her fourth shutout of the season to her resume. Goldberg made multiple diving efforts and saved all six of the Wildcats’ shots on net.
“Alexa Goldberg is a star in the making, 110%,” her teammate, Leskausks commented on her performance so far this season. “She’s an absolute brick wall. She does not let anything, in her power, go in that net. She’s an absolute superstar. We would not be where we are with goals against us right now if it weren’t for her. She is the rock in the back that we have.”
Florida heads to Starkville to face off against Mississippi State on Sunday at 7 p.m.