The net behind Vanderbilt goalkeeper Taiana Tolleson gently swished. The interlacing nylon in front of Florida’s offense hadn’t so much as shivered in its previous 677 minutes and 14 seconds.
The crowd at Donald R. Dizney Stadium that was anything but gentle as the Gators’ scoreless streak of six games came to an end
The Commodores knocked off the Gators 2-1 at home despite the relief-inducing goal from midfielder Lais Araujo. It was Vanderbilt’s first victory over UF since 1997. Although UF’s scoreless streak has come to an end, the team’s four-game losing streak continues. The team will look to end that streak when they face off against Kentucky in Lexington this Thursday.
“Nobody’s happy,” coach Becky Burleigh said. “Everybody is pretty frustrated, disappointed, angry.”
The first half looked promising for the Gators. In the 10th minute, UF’s Deanne Rose had a breakaway and faced Vanderbilt’s first-half goalie Lauren Demarchi one-on-one with a wide open window. The team’s leading scorer from last year couldn’t get it in the net, however, and Demarchi blocked what would be Florida’s best chance in the first half.
Vanderbilt answered big in the 13th minute. After three consecutive shots from the Gators, the Commodores’ Kaylann Boyd took a shot from 30 yards out. It hit the near post and bounced in, putting Vanderbilt up 1-0 and giving Boyd her fifth goal on the season.
Florida had another chance when midfielder Mayra Pelayo took a shot in the box in the 17th minute, but the shot came from a tough angle at the side of the goal and the ball bounced harmlessly off a defender. UF led 7-2 in shots at the end of the first half but was still left scoreless and down a goal to the Commodores.
The second half saw the Gators continue their offensive attack. UF came close to ending its scoreless streak early when Araujo took a free kick from just outside the box in the 47th minute, but her curling shot ricocheted loudly off the crossbar. Florida would take a few more shots — midfielder Sarah Troccoli took two and Rose sailed one far above the goal — but the moment the Gators had been chasing occured in the 78th minute when Araujo found the back of the net, squaring the score at one apiece.
Vanderbilt, however, wasn’t inclined to let them celebrate.
Midfielder Paola Ellis knocked in a shot from the UF 6-yard box following a Vanderbilt corner kick. Gators fans aggressively insisted that Ellis had been offside. The refs disagreed. The goal put Vanderbilt ahead 2-1 in the 88th minute and the Commodores hung on until the game ended. UF lost the match despite leading the shot count 12-6.
After the loss, Burleigh insisted that while the team is frustrated, it isn’t going to dwell on the negatives.
“We have more season left,” she said. “We have to get past this and be productive.”
Defender Georgia Eaton-Collins echoed her statement and asserted that the team is still confident despite the heartbreaker.
“Moving forward, we have a few goals in us,” she said. “Next game, we’re going to win.”
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Senior Lais Araujo finally broke UF's scoreless streak (six games) with a goal in the 78th minute of the 2-1 home loss to the Commodores on Sunday.