On a sun-bleached Sunday afternoon at Pressly Stadium, the Florida Soccer team was powered by the Annie Speese-Havana Solaun connection en route to a 2-0 victory over the Oklahoma State Cowgirls.
Solaun started the scoring early on with 34 minutes to play in the first half, getting on the scoresheet after being fed from Annie Speese. Pamela Begic worked the ball in the middle and sent it to the outside for Speese, who found Solaun at the top of the 18 yard box. Solaun beat the keeper to the far side of the net, giving the Gators an early advantage.
The Gators dominated the first 20 minutes of the first half, defensively and offensively, garnering eight shots and holding Oklahoma State without one.
Oklahoma State almost tied the game when Madison Mercado broke in all alone on Gators goalkeeper Taylor Burke, but the ball was close enough for Burke to dive in front of and corral it before Mercado was able to get a shot off.
Oklahoma State didn’t get their first and only shot of the first half until 38 minutes into the match when Mercado volleyed a bouncing ball right into the chest of Burke.
The second half was much of the same story of the first half, with the Gators controlling possession and the offensive tempo, and Oklahoma State just trying to break into their attacking third. The Gators doubled their lead early in the second half when Solaun struck again off another feed from Speese. Speese sent a ball in from the right side that found Solaun, who fired a low bouncing shot into the back of the net. The goal gave Gainesville native Solaun her third brace of her college career.
The remainder of the match was very physical, with a frustrated Oklahoma State team delivering fouls to the Gators and Florida trying to reciprocate. Oklahoma State was issued their first yellow card when Krissi Killion of the Cowgirls sent Florida’s Lindsey Cooper out of bounds into the Oklahoma State bench with an elbow to the back. But despite the chippy play, Florida held Oklahoma State off the board, giving Taylor Burke her third consecutive clean sheet. Burke hasn’t given up a goal since the 67th minute of the Oregon State match on August 25th.
The 5-1 Gators will try for their sixth victory of the season Friday September 13th in Gainesville against the Golden Gophers of Minnesota.