Deanne Rose stood inside the Washington State box with open arms as her teammates rushed from the sidelines. The freshman had just scored in double overtime for her fifth game-winning goal of the season, helping Florida advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
Rose’s goal concluded a match that lasted nearly 104 minutes, as the Gators edged the Cougars on Sunday afternoon at Donald R. Dizney Stadium, 1-0.
Nobody who had ever seen a soccer match would mistake young Samantha Chung for a great player. She wasn’t even average.
UF started the match with a rocky defensive performance, nearly allowing a goal when WSU forward Elyse Bennett sent a shot wide of the net on a breakaway chance in the 18th minute. The chance upset senior Gabby Seiler, who suggested to coach Becky Burleigh that she add a fourth defender to the back line.
“That’s called leadership,” Burleigh said of her captain.
The switch in formations kept UF stable defensively, but the offense still struggled in the first half.
The Cougars cut off Florida’s passes directed into their box, quickly closing off crossing and shooting lanes before the Gators could pick them out.
Consequently, the offense ran almost completely through Rose on the right wing, who registered UF’s only shot in the game’s first 60 minutes.
Her speed on the outside was uncontainable. Rose won nearly every loose ball played her way and couldn’t be defended one-on-one. She caused WSU defender Maddy Haro to rack up a game-high five fouls, matching Florida’s team total.
However, the Gators’ offense finally caught up to Rose as it found a flurry of chances, beginning with an opportunity in the middle of the second half.
Sophomore Tess Sapone rattled off UF’s first shot since early in the match in the 65th minute, and a headed effort by junior Sarah Troccoli in the 71st minute drifted just wide of the far post. The spell of chances concluded with a Seiler strike that glanced off the crossbar in the 73rd minute.
“In the second half, thanks to some leadership on the field, we started to play our game,” Burleigh said. “Once we started doing that, I really felt like it was our game.”
The inability of either team to convert on its shots pushed the match into overtime.
A sprawling save by goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese in the second minute of overtime prevented the Cougars from finding a quick winner and kept UF in the match.
On the other end, Rose found herself alone in the box with a chance to beat WSU goalkeeper Ella Dederick, but her shot attempt sailed over the bar.
“When I missed that shot I was upset,” Rose said. “The encouragement of my teammates just kept me going.”
But in the second overtime, she redeemed herself.
Four minutes into the period, junior Lais Araujo slipped a ball into the path of Rose. She took one touch and buried a shot into the bottom corner, this time beating Dederick one-on-one and sealing the victory with a golden goal.
“This win isn’t just for the team now, it’s for the teams in the past three, four years,” Seiler said. “We’ve worked our way to this point and we’ve finally broken through.”
You can follow Mark Stine on Twitter @mstinejr, and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.