Senior Deanne Rose making a move past a USF defender.

Senior Night Draw for Florida Soccer Against USF

Saturday is for the seniors. The Florida Gator soccer team (3-7-2) celebrated Senior Night against South Florida (2-0-1) on Saturday and it ended in an overtime 0-0 draw.

It may come off as a disappointment on Senior Night to end in a draw, but that is far from the case. A draw against a ranked opponent that had handled their last two matches is a great outcome for Florida. Gator coach Becky Burleigh is happier that they shut out the Bulls.

The energy in the crowd was felt early and was constant throughout the game. A lot of “yes!” for quick bright moments to a letdown or *sigh* in the not-so-good ones but fans continued to cheer the Gators on and keep them focused on the task at hand. Florida seemed to feel the energy from the good-sized crowd at Dizney Stadium tonight. Had there been a goal scored for Florida, it could have blown the top off the place.

Recap

This was a very physical game. A combined 38 fouls in the match. USF controlled the possession game and offensively had multiple chances to score, 13 shot attempts on the night, three on goal. Although it was physical, Burleigh said “it brings out the best in both teams.”

The Gators fought hard and did not allow any silly mistakes to cripple them. When the Gators had chances, they attacked them. Florida matched South Florida’s attacks with some of their own and even matched the physicality of the game.

The resilience by Florida was shown when midway through the second half, Cameron Hall got her second yellow card and Florida played a man down the rest of the way which helps explain the control of the possession that USF had.

Although it was Senior Night, red-shirt Florida freshman Nicole Vernis, stood out. She was all over the field and registered three shots, two on goal. She played aggressively and smart at the same time, taking care of the ball and making the right plays.

Goalkeeping

Susi Espinoza seems to excel in big games or moments. She played an exceptional match and had some incredible saves. Three saves to be exact.

Even with a night full of pressure on the Gators defense, she seemed to have everything under control in the goal. The senior’s composure was very visible in the contest.

Senior Night

The Florida seniors that were recognized tonight:

  • Madison Alexander
  • Carina Baltrip-Reyes
  • Susi Espinoza
  • Lauren Evans
  • Kit Loferski
  • Ashley Pietra
  • Parker Roberts
  • Deanne Rose

Even in a draw, there is a lot to celebrate on how these players have represented Florida.

About Andrew Cairns

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