Florida’s soccer team began the 2019-20 campaign with five straight games on the road over a 16-day span. In that period, the Gators suffered three consecutive defeats to ranked opponents and lost junior forward Deanne Rose to a hamstring injury against then-No.5 Southern California on Aug. 29.
Sunday night’s home opener was supposed to be the game that UF regained its confidence.
It played unranked Central Florida, and Rose, the team’s most prolific scorer, was healthy enough to come off the bench and play valuable minutes. Yet the Knights were the ones that came away with the 2-0 victory at Donald R. Dizney Stadium, handing the Gators their fourth loss of the season.
Although Central Florida was the visiting team, the Knights quickly made themselves at home with a goal in the third minute by forward Ally Gudorf.
Two Florida (2-4) defenders stopped Gudorf’s run near the edge of the box, but they failed to clear the danger. The miscommunication gave Gudorf enough time to regain possession and fire a shot in the bottom left corner to put UCF (1-1-2) ahead.
Redshirt junior defender Kit Loferski, who has played primarily as a forward to start the season, had a chance to open the scoring for the Gators in the 23rd minute. Loferski received a through ball that put her one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but her shot was off target.
Loferski was replaced two minutes later by Rose, who wasted no time impacting the game. She came close to equalizing in the 30th minute when she saw UCF goalkeeper Caroline DeLisle off her line. Rose tried chipping DeLisle from about 30 yards out, but her shot bounced off the crossbar for a goal kick.
UF’s next opportunity came in the second half from sophomore midfielder Cassidy Lindley. With her team still trailing 1-0 in the 52nd minute, Lindley took a curling shot from outside the box that was destined for the top right corner. DeLisle, however, made a diving save to keep Florida scoreless.
All hopes of a Gators comeback ended in the 86th minute when Central Florida forward Kristen Scott found the back of the net after a Florida turnover, sealing a 2-0 win for the visitors.
“I just don’t want to get used to this,” coach Becky Burleigh said. “It’s not settling well with me.”
Follow Bryan Matamoros on Twitter @bryan_2712. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.