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Saturday, April 13, 2024

Gators use two early goals to beat Bulldogs on road

<p>UF forward Brooke Sharp shoots during Florida's 2-1 loss to Texas A&amp;M on Sept. 10, 2015 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.</p>

UF forward Brooke Sharp shoots during Florida's 2-1 loss to Texas A&M on Sept. 10, 2015 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

Playing in a stadium that gave them trouble in their last two visits, Florida finally left Mississippi State Soccer Field in Starkville, Mississippi, with a dominant performance behind them.

No. 13 Florida (11-3-1, 5-2-1 Southeastern Conference) defeated Mississippi State (4-8-3, 2-4-2 SEC) 2-1 Friday night in front of the largest crowd ever for a Bulldogs home match.

UF landed itself in the scoring column early. In the 8th minute, a Christen Westphal pass from outside the box found the feet of junior forward Brooke Sharp, who whipped a first-touch shot into the back of the net.

The goal was Sharp’s ninth of the season.

The Gators extended the lead to two in the 26th minute with a goal by Meggie Dougherty Howard.  She received a pass from junior forward Savannah Jordan at the top of the box, and then took a left-footed shot into the far left post past a diving Courtney Tompkins to extend Florida's lead.

The second half didn’t provide much action on the scoring line until the final minute of the game.

“It was good for 87 minutes and 53 seconds,” Florida coach Becky Burleigh said of the team’s defense.

On the brink of the Gators’ first SEC shutout of the season, a long ball into the box on the final play of the game found the foot of the Bulldogs’ Kennadi Carbin.

Florida keeper Valerie Tysinger, who was subbed in for freshman goalie Kaylan Marckese at the start of the second half, could only watch as the pursuit for a conference clean sheet was once again foiled.

Nonetheless, Florida came away with the victory, and is now tied with South Carolina for first place in the conference.

The Gators will host the Gamecocks Thursday night in a battle for sole possession of the SEC conference lead.

Follow Kyle Brutman on Twitter @KBrut13

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UF forward Brooke Sharp shoots during Florida's 2-1 loss to Texas A&M on Sept. 10, 2015 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

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