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Gator Soccer Withstands Lobos, Weather In A 3-2 Thriller

A 50-minute weather delay followed by a furious two goal comeback capped a Gator victory over New Mexico on Sunday at James G. Pressley Stadium in soccer as Florida edges the Lobos 3-2.

Despite dominating possession early on, Florida found itself down 1-0 in the 21st minute after a turnover deep in its defensive third.  New Mexico midfielder Rachel Montoya intercepted a pass from Florida defender Annie Bobbitt, took a touch, and slotted the ball past Gator keeper Taylor Burke.

Florida continued to struggle finishing its chances and, although the Gators outshot the Lobos 6-3 in the first half, the Orange and Blue went into the locker room at halftime trailing 1-0.

In the second half the Gators came out firing and sophomore midfielder Annie Speese was able to equalize on a cross from forward Havana Solaun.  The assist gives Solaun, also a sophomore, nine goals and nine assists in her young UF career.

The momentum proved to be short lived, however, as New Mexico retook the lead just seven minutes later with a goal from forward Stephanie Rowe.  Florida head soccer coach Becky Burleigh says her team’s mistakes in the back cost them dearly.

Only one minute after the Lobos reclaimed the lead, the game was postponed due to lightning in the area.  NCAA rules state that when lighting strikes within a six mile radius from the stadium, play must be stopped for 30 minutes.  Gator midfielder Erika Tymrak says she knew her team had to ability to tie the score up with or without a delay.

Trailing 2-1 coming out of the rain delay, Burleigh knew her team would have to make some adjustments.

Those adjustments clearly paid off as the Gators catapulted out of the restart and scored two goals in the next ten minutes, giving them the lead.  The equalizer, scored by Tymrak less than a minute after play resumed, came to fruition after a quick giveand go in the box with defender Annie Bobbitt.  Bobbitt, who is not usually in the Gators starting eleven, got the nod after teammate Kat Williamson went down with a knee injury against FIU.

With the game tied up the Gators kept pressing until midfielder Holly King was able to score the game-winner in the 67th minute.  King was able to finish the header, which came off of a cross from midfielder Jo Dragotta, despite being dragged down by a New Mexico defender.

Up 3-2 with only 23 minutes remaining the Gators never looked back.  The 24th ranked team in the country moved to 3-2-1 on the year heading into SEC play next week.  It is the first time all season that the Gators have been over .500.

Florida will travel to Lexington to play Kentucky next Friday as the Gators look to open up their SEC schedule with a win.  Game time is set for 7pm.

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