Florida’s offense is making up for lost time.
The Gators unloaded against another SEC opponent on Sunday, defeating LSU 4-1 at Dizney Stadium in Gainesville. This came a week after the team ended its program-record six game scoreless streak.
Florida (4-6-1, 2-1 SEC) was by far the better side on the afternoon, easily handling LSU with goals from Alyssa Howell, Lais Araujo, Madison Alexander and Courtney Douglas. Following a 6-0 thrashing of Kentucky, the Gators have now scored ten goals in their last two games.
“I really think a big part of it is our continued persistence at practice,” coach Becky Burleigh said. “The schedule that we played in the non-conference season was really really difficult, and I think that really has helped prepare us for SEC play.”
The Gators’ attack was stunted for most of the first half, struggling to break through an LSU defense that dropped back. There was a lack of chances for the first 20 minutes on both sides.
That all changed in the 23rd minute, when LSU‘s Lindsey Eaton scored the opening goal after jostling for possession with UF defender Georgia Eaton-Collins in the box. The goal went against the run of the play, with Florida leading the shot count 5-1 up to that point.
It took until the 43rd minute for UF to finally break through despite practically living in LSU’s half for most of the first half of the match. The equalizing goal came from Howell, who scored in her second-straight game for her second-career goal. Howell was assisted by Cassidy Lindley and Carina Baltrip-Reyes, getting behind the defense and putting it past the LSU keeper from 6 yards out.
The flood gates opened in the second half after LSU (6-4-1, 0-2-1 SEC) began to struggle with Florida’s constant pressure. Araujo, fresh off a hat trick against Kentucky, found the back of the net again to put the Gators ahead in the 50th minute. The goal came off a low cross from Briana Solis, with Araujo tapping it in from six yards out. It was her third-straight match with a goal.
“I’ve been working a lot,” Araujo said. “I had a 1-2 with Bri, and then we just did something fun.”
Araujo’s class showed again in the 61st minute. After receiving a pass from Solis, she placed a perfect through-ball to Alexander, who beat the keeper to the ball and scored her fourth goal of the season.
Araujo played a critical role in Florida’s fourth goal as well. She took a corner kick that Douglas headed in at the 84th minute, capping off a one goal and three assist performance for Araujo.
It also gave Douglas a moment she’ll never forget: her first career goal.
“Lais played a really good ball,” Douglas said. “And I got it. I was so excited.”
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Defender Courtney Douglas (88) scored the first goal of her career Sunday afternoon in Florida’s 4-1 win over LSU.