On Alumni Weekend, Savannah Jordan turned some heads of former Gator soccer players that were on hand, scoring two goals and leading the Gators to a 3-0 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide Friday night at Pressly Stadium.
Florida held the much-maligned Bama attack at Bay, keeping them off the board with another shutout from Taylor Burke. The win extended Florida’s unbeaten streak to six, which began with a win over Oregon State on August 25.
Despite the Tide’s team bus breaking down twice on the way to Gainesville, which pushed the start of the game to 8 from the originally scheduled 7pm, Alabama was showing no signs of wear and tear in the first minute, testing Taylor Burke with two shots in the first minute. Alabama controlled play for the first five minutes of play as the Gators struggled to build up into the attacking third. Florida head coach Becky Burleigh says the team made some good adjustments after the first five minutes.
Florida almost broke through with 26 minutes to go in the first half on a ball headed past the keeper. The ball took a bounce and looked to be headed for the net when Tide defender Noelle Sanz cleared it off the line with a swift header.
Florida drew first blood in their fifth consecutive home match off of the golden foot of Savannah Jordan. Jordan found a corner kick that ricocheted around in the box; she muscled her way inside the six and put away the rebound that came off the foot off Tide keeper Emily Rusk. Jordan said her positioning and being in the right place at the right time is something she takes a lot of pride in.
Alabama was not without their chances in the first half. Perhaps their best opportunity came with 12 minutes to go, when a pass to unmarked Alabama forward Kate Bourgeois found her in point blank range. Bourgeois put her easy chance over the bar that kept the Gators in the lead.
Jordan struck again for Florida with her 10th goal of the season with inside three minutes to go in the first. Gator midfielder Meggie Dougherty-Howard fed Jordan and she did not disappoint the Gator faithful, burying a turnaround shot to extend the lead to two. Jordan said the passes from her teammates tonight were crucial to her scoring.
Burleigh was excited that Jordan had another multi-goal game, saying she’s hoping she can deliver throughout the conference schedule.
While Florida goalkeeper Taylor Burke was tested early on in the first half, the Florida back line allowed fewer chances in the second stanza . Florida controlled the pace and possession in the second half, working their way into the Alabama defending third with short passes.
With 28 minutes to go in the match, Jordan almost bagged her hat trick, taking a rebound from Gator midfielder Annie Speese’s header and firing it on goal, but all she could do is shake her head in disbelief as the shot didn’t get through the traffic in front of the net.
Florida extended their advantage to 3-0 when Liz Slattery sent in a header with under five5 minutes to go. The goal was Slattery’s first on the year.
While the score was 3-0, it could have been much more lopsided; Florida hit three posts throughout the game, including a header that went off the right post from the noggin of new-buzzcut-sporting Gator midfielder Pamela Begic.
Florida has the rest of the weekend off and won’t play until next Friday September 27th against Ole Miss.