The Gators’ Sunday night match against Stetson — the teams’ first meeting since October 1996 — somewhat resembled an intrasquad scrimmage. A peek at the box score shows a lopsided matchup.
Florida’s offense found creative ways to generate opportunities and the Hatters' defense scrambled to keep the ball away from the goal line. The Gators, coming off a 3-0 loss at Central Florida Thursday, controlled the tempo by moving the ball from side to side and holding intense pressure on the opposing players.
That showcase of dominance, which included 28 total shots, six corners and three unanswered goals, represented the first win under new head coach Samantha Bohon. Florida’s record now sits at 1-1.
“[It is] really important for us to have progress, growth and success as we build this year,” Bohon said. “I was really proud of them today.”
The Gators started their offense early with four shots and three corner kicks in the first 10 minutes. Senior attackers Syd Kennedy and Alivia Gonzalez applied high pressure, often causing errant touches by Stetson defenders.
In the 25th minute, Florida found a way past Hatters’ goalkeeper Sarah Grimmett. Junior defender Anna DeLeon sent the ball to the back of the net after a deflected shot landed in front of her. It was DeLeon’s first collegiate goal and the first official tally under Bohon.
The Gators nearly extended their lead in the 43rd minute after redshirt freshman midfielder Oakley Rasmussen hit a long shot that bounced off the left post.
Florida finished the first half with 14 shots and continued its dominance into the final 45 minutes.
Redshirt freshman Sophie White doubled the lead three minutes into the second half with an exquisite left-foot shot that struck the high right corner of the goal. The forward dribbled past a defender in the midfield and then shot a rocket into Grimmett’s goal.
UF’s final goal of the night came in the 75th minute off the feet of Gonzalez, who only needed to push the ball into the net. Freshman forward Lauren McCloskey drove the ball into the box and served Gonzalez for her first assist of the season.
“It was a great first win,” Gonzalez said. “We need to work on some things, obviously, but everything went our way tonight.”
Florida junior goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg had a modest match with four saves on seven total shots. The Hatters' closest goal opportunity of the match came in the 72nd minute after forward Lea Alexander hit a ball off the left post.
The Gators had 14 players with at least one shot attempt during the match. Collectively, they tripled their total shots compared to Thursday’s game and allowed fewer opposing shots, recording nine and conceding 12.
Florida now turns its focus to a Big 12 matchup against Baylor Thursday at 5 p.m. The match will stream on the Longhorn Network.
Jose Tovar is a fourth-year journalism student at the University of Florida specializing in sports and media. He has covered softball and soccer as a beat writer and aspires to work in the sports media industry.