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Monday, March 04, 2024

Gators soccer wins 2023 season opener against East Carolina

Victory marked first win since Sept. 1, 2022

Redshirt senior defender Daviana Vaka passes the ball to sophomore defender Lauren McCloskey in the Gators' 2-0 win against the East Carolina Pirates Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023.
Redshirt senior defender Daviana Vaka passes the ball to sophomore defender Lauren McCloskey in the Gators' 2-0 win against the East Carolina Pirates Thursday, Aug. 17, 2023.

After the worst season in program history, the Gators soccer team started the season on the right foot winning their season opener.

The Florida Gators (1-0) opened its 29th season with a 2-0 win against the East Carolina Pirates (0-1) Thursday evening at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Florida finished with 11 shots and four on goal.

Thursday’s win was UF’s first victory since Sept. 1 of last year in last season’s match against the South Florida Bulls.

The Gators dominated possession in the first half and outshot East Carolina four shots to one.

In the last three minutes of the first half, Florida sophomore forward Lauren McCloskey took a shot on goal from the bottom center of the box. Pirates goalkeeper Maeve English managed to save it.

The teams went into halftime tied scoreless, but the Gators came out strong in the second half.

McCloskey crossed the ball into the box towards junior forward Madeline Pirrello, who volleyed it into the net. The score gave Florida the match's first goal in the 49th minute.

The Gators remained relentless with three shots on goal, but they failed to hit the back of the net.

In the 82nd minute, Pirates defender Ferguson came in for a slide tackle, but she missed the ball and brought UF sophomore midfielder Oakley Rasmussen down in the box. The sophomore scored her first career goal on the penalty kick as she put Florida up 2-0.

The Gators will face the Maryland Terrapins at home at 6 p.m. Sunday. The match will be broadcast on SEC Network.

Contact Hailey Hurst at hhurst@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @haileyjhurst.

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Hailey Hurst

Hailey Hurst is a second-year journalism major with a focus in sports media and a sports reporter for The Alligator. In her free time, she enjoys going to the beach and cheering for Miami sports teams.


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