Florida’s soccer team sported one of the nation’s top offensive attacks in 2015, averaging 2.54 goals per game to rank seventh best in the nation.
The No. 7 Gators continued that trend on Friday night, defeating unranked Iowa State 5-2 at James G. Pressly Stadium in UF’s regular season opener.
Florida (1-0) dominated ball possession from start to finish. The Gators took a whopping 30 shots, the program’s most in a single match since 2001. UF’s five goals were also its most in a season opening contest over the past 15 years.
“We just really are an attacking minded team,” sophomore Melanie Monteagudo said. “I think that everybody is so focused on going to the goal and so focused on supporting each other as we go to goal that it’s really helpful for us.”
Florida’s offensive onslaught started early on into the match. At the 7:08 mark, sophomore Mayra Pelayo curved a 10-yard shot past Cyclones goalkeeper Lindsey Hendon for UF’s first score of the season.
Monteagudo would follow suit near the end of the first half, netting a left-footed shot from 22 yards away for the midfielder’s first career goal.
“It was a good feeling,” Monteagudo said. “… I think you could see by my celebration, I didn’t know what to do. I just sprinted and hoped someone would catch me.”
In the second half, senior Savannah Jordan took control of the Gators offensive attack.
The three-time All-American assisted on back-to-back goals by sophomore Sarah Troccoli and senior Meggie Dougherty Howard in the first four minutes of action.
After scores by Iowa State’s Koree Willer and Klasey Medelberg shifted some momentum back to the Cyclones (0-1), Jordan scored her 66th career goal from 8 yards away to seal the win for Florida.
“I had a little bit of a different role,” Jordan said. “I set a lot more tonight. Set up my teammates, which was really good. Our team is so dynamic and so deep that it allows for a lot of opportunity in different areas.”
UF doesn’t have long to recover from Friday night’s victory, as the Gators face FAU (1-0) on Sunday at 1 p.m. at home.
While head coach Becky Burleigh was pleased with her team’s performance against Iowa State, she said she would like to see more consistency from her players against the Owls.
“It’s good to kind of get that first one under our belt where we can celebrate a victory,” Burleigh said, “but at the same time we definitely have some points of emphasis to look at before Sunday.”
Contact Dylan Dixon at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @dylanrdixon.
UF forward Savannah Jordan takes a shot on goal during Florida's 5-2 win against Iowa State on Aug. 19, 2016, at James G. Pressly Stadium.