Gators Soccer Drops Home SEC Opener to Auburn

The Florida Gator soccer team opened up their home SEC slate with a less-than-desired result.

The Gators fell to Auburn 3-0 at James G. Pressly Stadium, Florida’s largest defeat to Auburn in program history. The loss drops the Gators to 6-3 overall, and 1-2 in SEC play.

The first big play of the game came at the 18th minute when Kristen Dodson ran at the Florida defense, getting past four Gator defenders before being brought down by Erika Nelson in the box to set up an Auburn penalty kick. The game remained level after midfielder Brooke Ramsier skied the penalty over the crossbar.

Auburn continued to create chances though, aggressively pressing the Gators high up the field all game, creating problems for the Florida defense whenever they would try to play out from the back. On numerous occasions,

The Tigers’ pressing led to their first goal at the 23rd minute when Florida midfielder Briana Solis played a backwards pass towards goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese, who took a bad touch. The miscue allowed the charging Kristen Dodson to steal the ball in the box and slot home Auburn’s first goal of the game.

The Gators chased the match the rest of the first half, but struggled to create clear chances. Auburn’s back-line played organized defense and and closed down a narrow Gator attack that didn’t use the wings much in the first 45 minutes. Florida forward Savannah Jordan said the Tiger defense was keyed in on her, forcing some of the chances to go to her teammates. The half ended with the Gators having more of the possession, but Auburn owning the better goal-scoring chances of the first half.

Florida came out on the front foot in the second half, showing better movement, getting the ball wide, and creating clearer chances.

A minute into the second half, a cross came in for Jordan, who’s glancing header hit the post after Auburn goalie Sarah Le Beau let the ball roll past her as she seemed to think the ball would go wide.

Florida’s best chance of the game came at the 60th minute, in a combination between two of it’s attacking sophomores. Mayra Pelayo got to the ball on the right wing, and whipped in a dangerous left foot cross that found Melanie Monteagudo near the penalty spot. Monteagudo, who provided an attacking spark as a second-half substitute, volleyed the ball on target with her right foot, but Le Beau came up with the save of the game, quickly getting both hands up to the ball to preserve her clean sheet.

The Gators kept pushing, but lazy passes in their defensive half kept giving Auburn scoring opportunities. Florida was lucky to see the game remain 1-0 after a defensive give-away in the 69th minute led to a one-on-one opportunity for Dodson, who’s close-range shot hit the side netting.

Auburn closed Florida out for the Tigers’ first ever win in Gainesville with two goals in the last 7 minutes.

In the 83rd minute, Brooke Ramsier sent in a corner kick from the right, which found the head of midfielder Courtney Schell before finding the back of the net to make the score 2-0.

Two minutes after doubling their lead, Auburn got the dagger after their high pressing took advantage of another Florida defensive mistake.

Marckese and midfielder Gabby Seiler had a miscommunication 35 yards out from the Gators’ net, allowing Dodson to intercept the ball and send home a low, long-range effort into an empty net to give her a brace and her team-leading fifth goal of the season.

The win sends Auburn to 2-1 in SEC play, and 6-4 overall.

Florida head coach Becky Burleigh said she was disappointed in the game’s result, but was proud of how her team fought, and looks forward to bouncing back in their next game.

Florida will get their chance to rebound when they continue their home SEC schedule against Tennessee on Sunday. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m.

About Jonathan Acosta

Native New Englander. Follow me on Twitter: @jonacosta_10

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