A rogue ball rolled slowly across the box in the final moments of the Gators and Hurricanes overtime battle.
Miscommunication from Florida sophomore goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg and her defenders left the ball sitting, waiting to be struck. Hurricane defender Taylor Shell found her chance and tapped a slow roller to the back of the net and cemented Miami’s 1-0 golden goal victory.
The match between the unranked Hurricanes and the Florida Gators went into a scoreless overtime on Sunday afternoon at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Both squads used their tackling techniques to keep the opposition on their side of the pitch, but the Canes were the ones who found the elusive loophole in the end.
Junior Kouri Peace suited up for her birthday and nearly gifted herself two goals. First, the forward launched an open net opportunity early in the match when Miami goaltender Melissa Dagenais and sophomore defender Delaney Brown collided in front of the net. But the shot sailed wide right.
Then, in the final five minutes of play, Peace found another opportunity off a free kick and tried to tap the ball off her left toe, but the ball arched over the crossbar.
Peace’s parents, Kyle and Connie, attended both the UCF and Miami matches and were delighted to see their daughter compete despite the consecutive losses.
“It was good to be here and celebrate Kouri’s 20th birthday and be here for the weekend,” Kyle said. “Today, she had a couple of opportunities to score. It would’ve been nice to see her score on a birthday.”
“I think the team, overall, played well and played a hard, hard fought game, and it’s tough to lose it in the last 20 seconds of overtime.”
Florida’s best scoring opportunity came in the 64th minute when the ball bounced off three heads in the box and then in front of junior midfielder Cameron Hall’s cleat. After all the chaos, however, Hall’s try popped over the crossbar.
The Gators improved vastly on defense to give Goldberg a warm safety blanket and allowed them to limit the Hurricanes to zero goals in regulation. Miami nearly found the back of the net on two breakaways but passing miscues swindled both opportunities.
Florida has much to improve on and is still in search of a victory. The next opportunity will be during a road trip to Tallahassee, where it faces the monumental task of trying to take down the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles. The kickoff will take place at 7 p.m. and will be streamed on SEC Network+.
Contact Jesse Richardson at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseRich352.