East Carolina defender Carsen Parker addressed a free kick in the 85th minute following a foul committed by UF sophomore defender Madison Young.
Parker struck a low shot into the bottom left of the goal to score her second goal of the match..It was the final dagger in another deflating loss, where the Gators conceded the winning goal in the final 10 minutes.
UF fell to 2-5-0 on the season after its 2-1 loss to ECU Sunday afternoon. Florida finished with 18 shots and five on target, but it failed to find a late goal to salvage a draw. The Gators were assessed 14 fouls — which proved to be their achilles heel in the closing moments.
The Gators were aggressive to start the match, with six shots in the first 20 minutes. In the opening flurry, UF junior defender Josie Curtis launched a strike from outside the left side of the box, which ECU goalkeeper Maeve English saved.
One of Florida’s best chances in the first half came in the 35th minute. Freshman forward Tatum O’Coyne made a run down the right side of the field and hit a curling shot from outside the right side of the box. The ball went over English but sailed just above the crossbar.
Florida finished the first half with 12 shots, most coming from outside the box. ECU’s defense kept the Gators from posing real threats within the Pirates’ box.
“The thing that was most disappointing is we created our chances today, and we just didn’t put it away,” Florida Head Coach Samantha Bohon said.
East Carolina nearly opened the scoring with its first shot on target of the match. Pirates midfielder Grace Doran had a breakaway towards the end of the first half, but UF goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg saved the shot inside the box.
The sides went into halftime deadlocked at zero. Both teams failed to generate real chances at goal.
Early in the second half, ECU defender Jazmin Ferguson attempted to block a low cross in the box, but she was called for a handball and conceded a penalty kick.
UF would capitalize on the error to take a 1-0 lead in the 49th minute. Junior midfielder Delaney Tauzel slotted the ball into the bottom left of the goal. ECU goalkeeper English dove in the right direction but failed to reach the ball in time.
The Gators’ lead would be short lived, however, as a tackle by UF defender Curtis in the box would result in a Pirates penalty kick. ECU defender Carsen Parker scored the equalizing penalty to give the pirates the lead in the 59th minute.
There was heavy rain for a significant duration of the match, resulting in a 45-minute rain delay.
Coach Bohon said the inclement weather was a good opportunity to see how her team dealt with adversity and live up to the blue-collar mentality she wants with her squad.
ECU made the most of its set pieces and the game-winning goal from a free kick. A foul committed by UF sophomore defender Madison Young resulted in a score just outside the box in the 85th minute. Parker scored the free kick to give her a brace.
Florida finished with 18 shots and five on target, but the Gators failed to find a late goal to salvage a draw.
The Gators will return home to kick off conference play in a match against the Tennessee Volunteers Friday at 7 p.m. The match will stream on SEC Network+.
Jackson Reyes is a third-year sports journalism major. He is the Gator's soccer beat reporter and previously worked as a general assignment reporter on the Metro desk. When he's not reporting, he enjoys collecting records and taking long walks on the beach.