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Saturday, October 16, 2021

Oh, Canada: Two more Gators get the soccer gold

Deanne Rose and Adriana Leon earn gold medals in women’s soccer

Canada's Deanne Rose duels for the ball with Sweden's Nathalie Bjorn during the women's final soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Yokohama, Japan. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)
Canada's Deanne Rose duels for the ball with Sweden's Nathalie Bjorn during the women's final soccer match at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Friday, Aug. 6, 2021, in Yokohama, Japan. (AP Photo/Kiichiro Sato)

Two more former Florida Gators earned medallions of gold in Tokyo, this time on the soccer pitch.

Alumni Deanne Rose and Adriana Leon stood atop the podium with Canada after defeating Sweden in penalties, 3-2, for the gold medal on Friday morning.

The gold medal in women’s soccer is Canada’s first since 1904.

After the match concluded with a 1-1 deadlock as extra time expired, the final match came down to penalty kicks.

With her team down a goal, Leon fired a good-looking drive to the bottom left corner, but Swedish goalkeeper Hedvig Lindahl made the diving save to keep Sweden ahead 2-1.

Rose lined up her shot next against Lindahl with Canada still behind. Her attempt seemed effortless as the ball flew over the hands of Lindahl and into the top right corner.

The goal was Rose’s only score in Tokyo, but it came at the most pivotal moment. Her successful try put Canada right back in position to come back and take the gold.

Canadian goaltender Stephanie Labbé counted her blessings after a try from Sweden defender Joanna Andersson deflected off the crossbar and out of play moments later.

Canadian Julia Grosso then aimed her shot towards the bottom left corner with a chance to put Canada in control.

Lindahl dove toward the ball but only used one hand in an attempt to make the save. The ball ricocheted off her fist and sailed to the roof of the net as Lindahl crashed to the pitch. 

Team Canada embraced Grosso and celebrated gold for the first time in 116 years.

Rose attended the University of Florida from 2017 to 2021 and played out former head coach Becky Burleigh’s final season this past spring. Leon last walked the campus in Gainesville during 2012 before transferring to Notre Dame.

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The medal count for former and current Florida Gators in Tokyo now increases to 16, including nine gold medals.

Contact Jesse Richardson at jrichardson@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @JesseRich352.

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