Three first half Texas A&M goals soured Florida’s Senior Day as the Gators ended the 2022 season with their worst record in program history.
The Texas A&M Aggies (9-5-5, 3-4-3 SEC) defeated the Florida Gators (2-14-1, 0-9-1) 4-1 Thursday night. The Aggies outshot the Gators 15 shots to nine. Florida head coach Samantha Bohon finished her first season with the Gators with a loss.
The Aggies scored their first two goals in the first 15 minutes of the match and put it out of reach with a third in the 28th minute.
It took the Aggies just five minutes to take the lead. After pushing the ball up the field, midfielder Kate Colvin found forward Maile Hayes. She poked the ball over the outstretched gloves of Florida goalkeeper Francesca Faraci, who started her first ever match for the Gators.
A set piece in the 11th minute helped Texas A&M extend its lead. Aggies goalkeeper Kenna Caldwell launched a free kick from midfield which went over the head of Faraci and eventually landed at the feet of defender Macy Matule, who finished in front of an open goal.
The Aggies nearly scored a third when forward MaKhiya McDonald beat a defender down the right sideline and nutmegged another defender to get the ball to Hayes in the box. Hayes took the shot with one touch, but sent it over the net.
Midfielder Mia Pante added to the Aggies lead to make it 3-0 in the 28th minute. She hit a low shot which glided into the bottom left of the goal.
Florida nearly scored its first goal with a cross from freshman midfielder Njeri Butts. The cross came from the right side, but it went over the heads of two UF players.
Senior forward Kouri Peace took the Gators’ best chance of the match late in the first half. She took a long shot from the left side of the field which curled towards the goal. Caldwell punched the ball over the goal to save it.
Toward the end of the first half, junior midfielder Julianna Leskauskas went down with an injury at midfield. The coaching staff treated her on the field, and she later came back into the match.
The Gators went into halftime down 3-0 and were outshot by the Aggies nine to two.
Junior goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg started the second half, but she did not face a shot on goal in the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Florida nearly scored in the second half with a shot from senior forward Tessa Barton. She took the ball from the right side of the field and hit a hard shot which met the fingertips of Caldwell. Barton followed that attempt with a shot moments later, but it went wide right.
In the 69th minute, the Gators scored their first goal off of a corner kick. Junior midfielder Delaney Tauzel took the corner and found sophomore defender Madison Young, who smashed a header into the top left of the goal.
It took the Aggies less than a minute to answer and make it 4-1. Texas A&M launched a counter attack from kick off and Hayes scored her second of the match with a shot into the right side of the goal. Aggies midfielder Sydney Becerra made the assist.
Minutes later, Peace found space in the box and landed on the end of a cross, but her header went over the goal.
Senior forward Alivia Gonzalez had a late chance with a shot that curled just over the goal. Senior midfielder Syd Kennedy setup Gonzalez with a threaded through ball.
Bohon was grateful for how her players were open to her experimentation each game. The team came into every game with new hope, she said.
Bohon finished her first season at Florida with the worst in Florida program history.
The team finished with the lowest number of goals scored in school history with 16 goals. The previous record low was 22.
Bohon took note of her team’s resiliency and her players’ ability to overcome adversities they faced this season, she said.
“We had a saying ‘fight together no matter what,’” Bohon said. “I think they did that all season long.”
As her first season concludes, Bohon is excited to start Florida’s preparations for next season. The players are eager to grow and develop going into next season, she said, and are ready to have a full offseason to train them.
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.