The Gators were two minutes away from securing a draw against the Baylor Bears.
The team’s chances were sunk, however, when Baylor midfielder Gabby Mueller needed just one touch to hand Florida a loss.
UF (1-2-0) lost 2-1 to Baylor (1-1-1) Thursday night in the first of two road matches in Austin, Texas. After a scoreless first half, both sides' attacks were on display in the second. The final 10 minutes of the match were especially electric, as each team scored a goal.
“I’m disappointed because I felt like we should have come out of there with minimally a tie,” Florida head coach Samantha Bohon said.
In the 38th minute, Florida freshman defender Lauren McCloskey received a yellow card for a tackle on Baylor midfielder Sarah Hornyak. Although the foul appeared to occur inside the Gators’ box, the referee declared contact started outside it, and only a free kick was given.
The Bears dominated much of the first half, maintaining most of the possession. Baylor shot the ball seven times compared to Florida’s lone attempt. However, despite controlling the match for the first 45 minutes, Baylor could not capitalize on any opportunities.
After making halftime adjustments, Florida came out with momentum creating two chances between senior forward Alivia Gonzalez and redshirt freshman forward Sophie White. In the 54th minute, Gonzalez sent a low cross to White to generate a one-on-one chance, but Baylor goalkeeper Lauren Traywick saved White’s shot.
The Gators momentum vanished quickly as the Bears made the most of a corner kick to take a 1-0 lead in the 57th minute. Bears midfielder Maddie Algya initiated the set piece, and midfielder Ashley Merrill was left unmarked to head the ball into the net.
Florida continued to apply pressure, maintaining half of the second half possession and creating more chances. UF outshot Baylor nine shots to eight in the second half and finished the match with 10 total shots with three on goal.
The Gators relentless attack paid off with a goal in the 81st minute to even the match at 1-1. Florida senior forward Tessa Barton’s shot ricocheted off the right post and fell to Gonzalez, who snuck it past Traywickfor her second goal of the season.
In the match's final moments, Baylor found one last opportunity in the 88th minute scoring the game-winner and pushing the score to 2-1. Baylor forward Haven Terry launched a cross into the box from the right side of the field to Mueller, who volleyed it for the game-winning goal.
Bohon said the Gators next match against the Texas Longhorns will be a big test for her young squad.
“Texas is one of the most talented teams on paper in the country,” she said. “These games will only help us get better down the road.”
The Gators will finish their road trip in the Lone Star State with a match against Texas at 4 p.m. Sunday. The match will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network.
Jackson Reyes is a third-year journalism major and one of the assistant sports editors for the Spring 2023 semester. In his free time, he enjoys collecting records, long walks on the beach and tweeting about Caleb Williams.