Gainesville Fl.- Florida coach Becky Burleigh admitted that tactical adjustments helped the Gators secure a 2-1 win over a spirited Alabama at the Dizney R Stadium on Sunday.
“The first half I thought Alabama came out and pressed us really hard,” Burleight said. “Our team really stepped up to the challenge of being down and wanting to win that game. But I think it was the tactical change too that really helped us get back to our identity.”
Despite falling behind 1-0 early in the first half, Burleigh’s protégés produced a complete team performance to battle back and claim the victory against the 15th ranked Crimson Tide.
Four minutes into the game, freshman Sydney Vincens intercepted the ball after a dangerous playback to Susi Espinoza. Alabama took a 1-0 lead but Gator senior Maddison Alexander stepped up to tie the game for the Gators.
Sophomore Alivia Gonzalez later scored her first collegiate goal, and it turned out to be a game winner for the Gators.
“I was just so excited, not only for the team, but that was my first real goal in college. It was just an exciting time, knowing that there’s a minute left in the game and we had our first win in the SEC,” she said.
4′: Kit Loferski threw the ball in on the right side to Georgia Eaton-Collins. Vincens caught Collins’ pass, passed Espinoza, and knocked the ball into the goal. Gators are looking at an early 1-0 deficit.
6′: Confusion in Alabama’s box. Alabama’s goalkeeper Mckinley Crone knocked down Loferski’s kick. A rebound from Cassidy Lindley brought the ball to Maddy Rhodes. However, it was a bad finish for the Gators.
62′: Kouri Peace served freshman Rhodes making a run through the far side of the box. Then, Rhodes’ centering pass found Alexander at the near post who back heel flipped the ball inside the goal. Gators tie it at 1-1.
81′: Steed lofted the ball on the air. Rhodes headed the ball toward the goal but saved by Crone.
88′: Steed executed a corner into Alabama’s box. Gonzalez went in with a head, but goal killer Crone stopped this action again.
89′: With a minute left on the clock, both teams were heading to extra minutes. But UF’s Loferski served Peace who made a right-side run. Gonzalez leaped to catch the ball with her right shin and scored the winning goal for the Gators.
Another win for UF over Alabama, a team they dominated in the all-time series.
Florida goes on the road for the first time Sunday at Texas A&M.