The Florida Gators soccer team played the Kentucky Wildcats at home on Sunday afternoon, with both teams searching for their first SEC win. Florida was coming off losses to Tennessee and Missouri while Kentucky had drawn to both Texas A&M and seventh-ranked South Carolina. After taking a 1-0 lead in the first half, the Gators conceded in the second, ending their three-game losing streak but drawing to Kentucky 1-1. Florida moved to 4-3-3 on the season and Kentucky is now 6-0-4 on the year.
— Gators Soccer (@GatorsSoccer) September 24, 2023
Florida’s defense made an early impact in the first half, limiting Kentucky to two shots. The Gators looked patient and poised with the ball, creating multiple opportunities to score. With just under 10 minutes remaining, senior transfer Emily Yaple scored a sensational 20-yard shot from just outside the box. This was the first goal of her Gator career and put Florida up 1-0 heading into halftime. Yaple had subbed in earlier in the half for Julianne Leskauskas.
“Fifteen minutes after I scored and came off the field, I think every single girl on the team came up to me and told me how well I did, how awesome they felt for me and how awesome it was for the team,” Yaple said, “I just can’t be more grateful for having the support that we have here.”
Florida head coach Samantha Bohon applied the pressure to start the second half of play. The Gators used the defense to start counter-attacks on the offensive end, shooting the ball seven times in the second half. However, just over the hour mark, Kentucky’s Maya Lacognato scored to even things up off a throw-in from the corner of the field. Jordyn Rhodes and Tanner Strickland were credited with the assist. Florida had many opportunities as the game winded down to regain the lead, but ultimately, were not able to.
Florida earned their first point in SEC play, sitting just behind Kentucky in the SEC East standings.
Kentucky earned their second point in SEC play, sitting behind Tennessee who is 1-0 in conference play, coming off a 2-0 win against the Gators.
The Gators offense executed well today. Florida shot the ball eleven times in the game with three of those shots being on target. Florida had one corner on the afternoon. On the defensive side of the ball, the Gators had a season-high 15 fouls in the game. Florida’s Alexa Goldberg had three saves in the game, pushing her season total to fifteen on the year.
Kentucky had six shots in the game with four of those being on target. Marz Josephon had two saves in the game, pushing her season total to 16 saves on the year. The Wildcats had three corners in the game. On the defensive side of the ball, Kentucky was assigned the only two yellow cards of the game. Kentucky won the possession battle 51% to 49%.
The Gators hit the road to play their fourth game in SEC play against the LSU Tigers on Friday.