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Wednesday, December 06, 2023

No. 2 North Carolina drowns Florida at home

Gators fall hard to Tar Heels, 7-1, after half-hour rain delay

<p>Florida&#x27;s Kit Loferski in a game against Texas A&amp;M in 2019.</p>

Florida's Kit Loferski in a game against Texas A&M in 2019.

Thunder struck across the skies of Gainesville on Thursday night as the Florida Gators warmed up to take on the No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels.

But after a half-hour delay, the clouds cleared and a double rainbow shined across the horizon. It was game time at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Unfortunately, the Gators may have wished the sun stayed hidden.

North Carolina put the pedal to the metal in the first half of the match to bolster the 7-1 beat down Thursday evening as Florida’s momentum from the FGCU victory turned stale.

Florida fell behind on the stat sheet, especially in time of possession, and only mustered a single shot on goal against the Tar Heels in addition to one try from the corner. In return, UNC put down 21 shots and 13 corners, three of which turned into scores.

UNC freshman forward Emily Colton annihilated the Gators’ defense. The Carlsbad, California, native penetrated Florida’s backline to put herself in scoring position and came away with two goals on three shots.

Colton kicked off the goal brigade with a right-foot shot from the center of the box. Florida sophomore goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg lept for the ball but whiffed as it found the back of the net.

Goldberg was pulled from net duties in the second half after the Tar Heels scored their fifth goal within the first 45 minutes. Florida freshman backup keeper JLo Varada stepped between the sticks but gave up two additional goals, one to senior forward Rachel Jones at the 66th minute mark and a left footer at the 81st minute from senior forward Rachael Dorwart.

The Tar Heels midfielders, sophomore Avery Patterson and freshman Emily Murphy, also tallied one goal each in the onslaught.

The lone Gators score came from a UNC miscue in its own box that caused an own goal. The Gators celebrated the shift in energy back toward their favor, but their attack was too weak to infiltrate the UNC backline. 

The Gators have a 10-day break after the loss and begin SEC play against the Vanderbilt Commodores on Sept. 19.

Contact Jesse Richardson at Follow him on Twitter @JesseRich352.

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