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Monday, October 18, 2021

Golden Goal: Leskauskas clinches second win for Gators

Florida ends scoring drought in 1-0 victory over Kentucky

Florida soccer dogpiles on Julianne Leskauskas in celebration of its win over Kentucky on Thursday.
Florida soccer dogpiles on Julianne Leskauskas in celebration of its win over Kentucky on Thursday.

When the ball touched the boot of sophomore transfer Julianne Leskauskas, there was only one thing going through her mind: “Score.”

Although she found herself in a state of shock, she found a way to make perfect contact on the ball to send a line drive.

The right-foot shot flew from her laces toward the corner of the box before bending toward the right post. 

Everyone’s heart on the pitch stopped as the ball hung in the air, suspended as if frozen.

Eventually, time sped up again and the ball ricocheted off both posts like a stray pinball at the local arcade before finding the back of the net. Leskauskas slid to the ground as her teammates piled on top of her to celebrate the monumental victory.

The New Jersey native and Rutgers transfer was ecstatic to earn the long-awaited victory and the emotions among the team were running wild after the goal.

“Wow,” Leskauskas simply stated. “I was in shock, definitely. I'm so at a loss for words right now, it’s definitely a shocking moment I was like, ‘I just can't believe that just happened.”

Kentucky piled up the shot count to 19 to out-gun the Florida defensive unit, but the bullets were caught in Superman-like fashion by sophomore goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg. 

Goldberg faced times of crisis on numerous occasions Thursday night, but she was always there to make a flying save and keep the Wildcats scoreless. Her six saves increase her season total to 52.

Goldberg went into the night leading the SEC with 5.35 saves per game, and Thursday became her third shutout in a row. 

Kentucky junior forward Hannah Richardson led the scoring opportunities for her squad with two shots on goal. Meanwhile, UF forward Maddy Rhodes and sophomore midfielder Delany Tauzel combined their efforts to create two shots each for the Gators.

Florida continues SEC play this Sunday with a trip to Starkville, Mississippi, on Sunday when the Gators take on the unranked Mississippi State. Florida leads the overall series over the Bulldogs, 15-2-2.

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

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