Florida’s freshmen attack led the way for the team en route to a win against Maryland. Gators freshman forwards Lena Bailey and Megan Hinnenkamp used their speed to their advantage.
Bailey received a long leading pass and blew past the Terrapin defender. She unloaded a quick shot into the bottom left corner for Florida’s first goal of the match.
The Florida Gators (2-0) started their season with back-to-back wins after a 1-0 victory against the Maryland Terrapins (0-1-1) in Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Florida matched its win total from the 2022 season with the victory and started 2-0 for the first time since 2019.
The Gators started with much more physicality than the Terrapins through the first 20 minutes. However, three quick fouls discouraged the early Florida pressure and forced the team to fall back for the moment.
Florida senior goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg made a diving save in the bottom left corner at the five-minute mark to stifle an early Maryland shot attempt.
Hinnenkamp unleashed a strong shot toward the center of the goal in the 21st minute. Maryland junior goalkeeper Liz Beardsley caught the attempt and preserved the scoreless tie.
In the 40th minute, Bailey buried a goal in the bottom left corner to open the scoring to put the Gators on the scoreboard. This was her first collegiate goal.
“I didn’t even know what to feel, I was just running back,” Bailey said. “There was definitely a lot of emotion and joy in that.”
Bailey then scampered down the sideline and put another shot on goal just two minutes later.
The Gators held their 1-0 lead over the Terrapins heading into halftime. UF outshot Maryland eight to three and applied heavy pressure on the defense through the first 45 minutes.
In the 56th minute, senior Gators forward Julianne Leskauskas sent a shot just wide of the left goal post for the first shot of the second half.
Goldberg came up with her second diving save of the night in the 87th minute on a late shot by Terrapins junior midfielder Lauren Wrigley. Wrigley gathered the rebound and quickly sent another shot just wide of the left post.
Florida dominated possession for most of the second half but failed to break through. However, the Gators still held onto their one-goal lead and came away with the victory.
Florida will head on the road to play the Miami Hurricanes at 6 p.m. Thursday. The match will be broadcast on ACC Network.
Contact Austin Stirling at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @austinstirlingg.
Austin Stirling is a third-year journalism major and sports reporter for The Alligator. He previously covered Gators women's basketball and is primarily covering soccer during the fall 2023 semester. He is a huge New York sports fan and is hoping the Jets can be a respectable football team for once in his life this season.