Tied in the 12th minute, Ole Miss junior Mo O’Connor centered a pass for senior Channing Foster inside the penalty area. Foster quickly stole the ball from Florida midfielder Nicole Vernis, spun around and netted a left-footed goal. Rebels goalkeeper Ashley Orkus saved five shots and held the Gators scoreless for the final 78 minutes en route to their third SEC victory in four games.
“[Foster’s] a really good all-conference player who finished a great chance and credit to her for doing that,” Florida head coach Tony Amato said after the match. “But I thought we played well enough to combat some of that and win the game.”
After starting conference play with two wins and a draw, the Gators ultimately fell to Ole Miss 1-nil at Donald R. Dizney Stadium Sunday. The loss marks Florida’s third time being shut out in its past five contests. The Gators drop to 3-6-3 overall and 1-4-2 at home.
With just under 13 minutes to go in the first half, Ole Miss senior Molly Martin aimed ahead for the top-left corner of the net. But Florida goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg leaped just in time to deflect the shot wide. The sophomore faced nine Ole Miss shots but only four on goal. Goldberg recorded three saves, which drops her season save percentage to .766.
In the second half, the Gators racked up seven shots and four corner kicks while committing fewer fouls than the Rebels. Vernis and sophomore forward Maddy Rhodes recorded four of Florida’s five shots on goal. Vernis found the back of the net for what would have been the redshirt sophomore’s first goal this season, but the referees waved it off due to offsides. Following the loss, Amato explained how opportunities were present, but the Gators failed to capitalize.
“It was really about the final product in terms of finishing some of those chances and really executing in those moments. That’s really the next step for us,” Amato said.
Trip to Knoxville
The Gators will look to bounce back Thursday on the road against No. 15 Tennessee. Florida leads the all-time series with an 18-11-3 record, but the Vols won the previous three meetings. The match will start at 7 p.m. and air on SEC Network+.