So far for the Gators this season, 7 has been a very lucky number, as in number 7 Savannah Jordan, who scored twice in the first half and for a third time in the second half, to get a hat trick leading Florida soccer team to a 3-1 victory over the Oregon State Beavers Sunday night.
Jordan said earlier in the week that she would put on a show, and followed that up by becoming the only freshman in Florida history to score five times in her first two matches.
Oregon State controlled the pace of play early on in the first few minutes of the game, content to build up in their attacking third with crisp passing, but were unable to create any viable scoring chances. After about the first five minutes the Gators hit their stride, trying to generate chances with cross passes. However, they failed to get a shot in the first 10 minutes of the first half.
But about 11 minutes in, Florida drew first blood as defender Claire Falknor found Jordan in the box and she tucked the ball into the right corner of the net for the goal. Jordan also became the first Gator freshman to score in her first two collegiate matches since 1995 with that tally. The early strike allowed the Gators to control the ball in Oregon State’s defending third for much of the first half, but turnovers plagued the Gators attack for much of the rest of the half.
Oregon State had a promising opportunity with 19 minutes to go in the first half when they started a counter-attack. Beavers forward Jenna Richardson took two touches in the box before she was foiled by the Gators defense who were quick to get back and take her off the ball, sending Richardson to the ground. The Beavers earned another chance and almost tied the game when midfielder Jacy Drobney sent the ball into the box on a free kick and the header was won by Oregon State and sent the ball on goal, but Gator goalkeeper Taylor Burke made a diving stop to deny the shot.
The Gators extended their lead to two when Jordan struck again for Florida with six minutes to go in the first half, when she dribbled past two defenders, sending one to ground and beating the keeper for her fourth goal in two matches.
Florida started out the second half by controlling the possession battle and peppered the Beaver defense with balls into the box, including a shot in the first minute of the second stanza. But other than that, the Gators were happy to sit on their lead and keep possession, playing conservatively. Despite being behind, Oregon State found themselves defending for the greater part of the first 20 minutes of the second half, unable to provide much of a challenge for the Florida defense as well as goalkeeper Taylor Burke.
But then the rain began to fall and soon picked up, and with the change in weather Oregon State came alive and struck back inside 24 minutes to go, when the ball fell to Beavers forward Chelsea Buckland, who beat Burke with a strike from about 8 yards out.
Oregon State earned a corner kick inside 13 minutes left to try and tie the match, and while the ball fell and ricocheted around to provide some temporary danger, the Gators eventually cleared.
Florida all but iced the game with less than 10 minutes to go when they sent a long ball that fell to the feet of Jordan, who took on her defender one-on-one and chipped Oregon State goalkeeper Audr Bernier-Larose for her third goal, her fifth in two matches.
Florida’s next match has them taking on rival Florida State at Pressly Stadium August 30.