On a soggy, muggy, overcast afternoon in Nashville, Tennessee, freshman forward Deanne Rose found herself in a familiar position: in possession of the ball with opposing defenders draped all over her.
After a long Vanderbilt throw-in near Florida’s box was redirected toward midfield, Rose booted the ball to the far sideline and chased it down. She shrugged off one Commodore defender, then sped by the next.
By the time Rose approached the attacking third of the pitch, she was all alone with a single defender, Myra Konte. Konte had to decide whether to protect against the cross to a streaking Lais Araujo or to take on Rose.
She chose Araujo. Rose was fine with that decision.
She drew Vanderbilt’s goalkeeper away from the net and chipped the ball over her from 18 yards out, completing a mad dash from box to box to score her second goal in a 3-0 shutout over Vanderbilt on Sunday.
The Gators (11-2, 5-1 SEC) traveled to Nashville to face a Commodores squad that hadn’t lost an SEC matchup in five games. For coach Becky Burleigh, the contest presented a chance for her team to demonstrate its perseverance.
“I think it was a good opportunity for us to show a little bit of toughness in the conditions,” Burleigh said. “I think once we got the ball on the ground and kept it there, it was really challenging for Vanderbilt. We did a really good job of that starting the game, and then in the second half as well.”
Burleigh said Rose, a freshman from Canada and UF’s leading point-scorer, was “a lot for Vanderbilt to handle.”
“She created the penalty, she scored two goals, had a couple of other opportunities,” Burleigh said. “Her family was there too, so that was awesome that they got to see that kind of performance.”
It was Rose’s third multi-goal game over the Gators’ previous six matches. Her hat-trick bid came up just short as captain Gabby Seiler put away a 77th-minute penalty kick to end the day’s scoring.
Though Florida goalie Kaylan Marckese was only called upon to stop one shot on goal, she nonetheless turned in her fourth shutout since returning from a hand injury on Sept. 14.
Marckese has bounced back into the starting lineup with little drop off in production, recording a 0.875 save percentage on 32 shots faced on goal in her seven starts.
The Gators return home to play their final non-conference game of the regular season against Florida State on Thursday.
The Gators and Seminoles will square off at 6 p.m. at James G. Pressly Stadium. The annual rivalry match was rescheduled to avoid the impact of Hurricane Irma.
“I’m just really glad we didn’t lose that game,” Burleigh said. “It’s always such a great game, and we’re looking forward to it.”
You can follow Morgan McMullen on Twitter @MorganMcMuffin, and contact him at email@example.com