The 19th ranked Florida soccer team lost its first SEC match of the season on the road to Ole Miss Thursday evening. Although the Gators took a 1-0 lead 25 minutes into the game, they would ultimately fall 3-2 to the Rebels.
How It Happened
— Ole Miss Soccer (@OleMissSoccer) October 11, 2019
The Gators took the lead somewhat controversially with 20 minutes remaining in the first half. Cassidy Lindley attempted to cross the ball from the left past two Rebel defenders, but they blocked her path. However, in doing so, one of the defenders picked up an injury and remained down. About 10 seconds later, with the defender still on the ground in pain, Lindley picked up the ball. This time, her driven cross found the feet of Madison Alexander who took a touch before hitting it into the side netting.
Ole Miss found an equalizer 14 minutes later through Channing Foster. The goal came from a long-range pass over the top of the Gator defense and into the box. Keeper Susi Espinoza failed to come in time to claim, and Foster tucked it away off of a deflection from her own player. That goal would conclude the scoring in the first half.
Florida head coach Becky Burleigh has stressed getting off to quick starts in matches. In the second half against Ole Miss, the Gators did just the opposite. It took the Rebels just 35 seconds after play resumed to take their first lead of the night.
Tess Sapone miscontrolled a heavy pass from Georgia Eaton-Collins out of the back. Ole Miss’s Lonnie Mulligan collected, beat the defense, then beat the keeper with a spectacular finish toward the far post.
The Rebels’ lead would be short-lived, however. Under two minutes later, Lindley got on the score sheet after assisting the first goal of the night. She attempted to cross the ball from the left, as she did on the first goal. The defender popped the ball up perfectly for Lindley to strike on the volley, and from a tight angle, she put it through the keeper’s legs to tie it up.
Nearly 20 minutes later, Ole Miss put away the decider on a set piece. Haleigh Stackpole took the free kick from a central area roughly 35 yards from goal. Rather than shoot, she elected to play the ball into the danger area. She provided a wonderful curler right to the head of Molly Martin who looped it over the head of Espinoza.
Florida may look back on the defeat and feel unlucky. They outshot Ole Miss 15 to 13. However, both sides had seven shots land on target.
The Gators were much more active in the second half. In the first, they only attempted two shots. In the second, they had 13.
Prior to the game, the Gators had won six straight matches, including four in conference play. Florida now has an overall record of 8-5 and a 4-1 record in the SEC.
Next up, the Gators will return to Gainesville to face the Kentucky Wildcats. Last year, the Gators defeated the Wildcats 6-0. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at the Diz.