Florida’s soccer team opened up its 2019 conference grind much later than expected.
After waiting more than two hours in a lightning delay, the Gators shutout 2018 SEC champion LSU 3-0 in their Thursday evening conference opener in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The delay took the match originally scheduled for 8 p.m. to a 10:05 p.m. start. But the late start didn’t deter the Gators’ focus or late-night energy.
The stunner brought the Gators’ (5-4) win streak to three games, while the Tigers (2-5-1) plummeted to a four-game losing streak.
Senior forward Vanessa Kara continued to live up to her SEC Offensive Player of the Week honor, scoring the first two goals of the game, the first of which came in the 22nd minute.
Kara found plenty of opportunities throughout the match, taking advantage of the Tigers’ inability to hold onto a possession for a sizable amount of time. A solid setup from midfielder Tess Sapone allowed Kara to knock a header in past LSU goalie Emma Grace Goldman.
Kara didn’t let Goldman off easy in the second half. An assist from redshirt junior defender Kit Loferski sent Kara sliding in for the Gators’ second goal in the 47th minute.
Loferski followed up with a goal of her own in the 61st minute on an individual effort, taking the Gators up 3-0 for the final score.
Despite allowing three goals, Goldman strung together an impressive 10 saves against a relentless Florida offense that totaled 13 shots on goal.
Goalkeeper Susi Espinoza earned her third-consecutive shutout on the Gators’ season, contributing three saves when LSU dug up the slightest amount of offensive traction in the second period. But that momentum was short-lived when the Tigers were only able to muster a total of three shots on goal.
Florida extended its all-time series lead against LSU to 19-1. With its fresh winning streak under its belt, the stain of an ugly early-season four-game losing streak is quickly fading from memory.
Follow Jordan Perez on Twitter @jrdnprz. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Forward Vanessa Kara scored the first two goals Thursday night in Florida’s 3-0 win against LSU.