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Monday, February 06, 2023

HAT TRICK: Lais Araujo dominant in Florida victory

<p><span>Midfielder Lais Araujo (18) picked up a hat trick in the first 32 minutes of Florida’s 6-0 win over Kentucky on Thursday night in Lexington.</span></p>

Midfielder Lais Araujo (18) picked up a hat trick in the first 32 minutes of Florida’s 6-0 win over Kentucky on Thursday night in Lexington.

Lais Araujo may have been the player to snap the Gators’ scoreless streak against Vanderbilt, but a heartbreaking loss left her unsatisfied with the feat.

She made sure to score three goals in the first half of UF’s match against Kentucky (4-7, 0-2 SEC), just in case one wouldn’t be enough.

Araujo’s hat trick propelled the Gators to a lopsided 6-0 victory over the Wildcats.

The six goals at the Wendell & Vickie Bell Soccer Complex nearly tied the total amount of goals the team have on the season. The game also marked the first time the Gators (3-6-1, 1-1 SEC) have scored six goals in a match since Oct. 20, 2016, in another 6-0 win against Alabama.

The spotlight in the first half was largely centered on the furious attack from Araujo. She first scored in the 14th minute, knocking the ball in from the box off a cross. Her second score came at the 24th minute from a small breakaway, placing the shot past UK goalie Hannah Leonard. She completed her hat trick in the 32nd minute when she hit the mark from 18 yards out off a blocked attempt.

The team didn’t stop with Araujo’s offensive outburst. Forward Alyssa Howell headed a ball off the top bar and into the goal to put the Gators up 4-0 at the end of the first half.

The Gators continued their dominance in the second half. Madison Alexander found the back of the net for the third time this season, putting UF up 5-0 in the 65th minute. Midfielder Mayra Pelayo ended the scoring — and the game — with an 81st-minute strike that deflected off Leonard’s hand and snuck behind the goal line.

UF led the shot count by a large margin, taking 14 shots (six on goal) to Kentucky’s four (three on goal). UF goalie Kaylan Marckese saved three shots in the victory, giving Florida its second shutout of the season.

The Gators will look to continue its momentum when they face LSU in Gainesville this Sunday at 1 p.m.

 

You can follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells or contact him at rwells@alligator.org.

Midfielder Lais Araujo (18) picked up a hat trick in the first 32 minutes of Florida’s 6-0 win over Kentucky on Thursday night in Lexington.

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