On a scorching Sunday afternoon, the No. 7 UF soccer team came out nearly as hot as the weather did in a 5-0 shutout against Troy at James G. Pressly Stadium.
In its first home game of the regular season, Florida’s defense smothered the Trojan attack, holding Troy to just one shot attempt — a hapless ball that rolled wide right of goal.
“I gave credit to our defense at half,” Gators coach Becky Burleigh said. “Whenever [Troy] did mount any sort of attack, our back line did a really good job of handling that well.”
All five goals came from different players, and four scored their first goals as Gators.
Freshman forward Deanne Rose netted her first collegiate goal 10 minutes in after receiving a leading pass from sophomore defender Sammie Betters. Rose, a Canadian national team member and Olympic bronze medalist, shrugged off a defender in the box, then chipped the ball over the goalie as she approached Rose to challenge the shot.
“It feels good,” Rose said. “I had a lot of help from my team, obviously. It wasn’t just me. But it just feels good to get my first goal as a Gator.”
Senior defender Gabby Seiler notched her second goal of the season off of a corner kick in the 28th minute that fell to the far post.
“Be a leader by example at all times,” said Seiler, who was named a team captain Friday before scoring against Florida Atlantic. “It’s kind of what I do every single day. That’s kind of my mentality every time I step on the field.”
Brittney Bennett, a junior midfielder, notched the third Gator goal of the day in the 36th minute. She hit a slicing drive off a failed clearance that made its way into the top right corner of the net from 20 yards out.
The goal from Bennett, a Grayson, Georgia, native, was her first as a Gator, as well, and also came on her 20th birthday.
“It just kind of ricocheted off a couple people and bounced out,” Bennett said about the setup. “I just one-touched it because no one was there. I didn’t want to take an extra touch.”
As much as there was to celebrate, the game also marked an occasion for remembrance.
UF players wore patches reading “R & N” on their right sleeves during the match to honor Ron and Nancy Burleigh, coach Burleigh’s parents. They each passed away earlier this year.
“I want to give a shout out to the whole team for that,” Burleigh said. “That was really touching and very unexpected for sure and something that my family will never forget.”
Seiler was part of the seniors’ efforts to get the patch approved by the SEC.
“We were really excited to show her because obviously her parents meant everything to her,” Seiler said. “We were her support system through all of that, and we wanted to do everything we could to be there for her.”
Florida’s next game is Friday against No. 2 Stanford at home.
“That’s what we want, is all these experiences to occur in this nonconference part of the season to get us prepared for the conference, as well as the postseason,” Burleigh said.
Contact Morgan McMullen at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @MorganMcMuffin.
UF soccer coach Becky Burleigh talks with her team following Florida's 5-2 win against Iowa State on Aug. 19, 2016, at James G. Pressly Stadium.