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Saturday, June 15, 2024

Florida picks up first SEC victory of the season against LSU

The win marked UF’s first SEC win in 705 days

Freshman forward Megan Hinnenkamp dribbles around a Kentucky defender in the Gators' 1-1 draw against the Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023.
Freshman forward Megan Hinnenkamp dribbles around a Kentucky defender in the Gators' 1-1 draw against the Kentucky Wildcats on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023.

There was little the Tigers could do against a Gators team that fired on all cylinders Thursday night.

Florida’s defense overpowered Louisiana State as the Tigers were held without a shot on goal. The Gators continuously warded off Tiger offensive pushes and looked very disciplined throughout the night.

The Florida Gators (5-3-3, 1-2-1 SEC) defeated the Louisiana State University Tigers (7-4-1, 2-2 SEC) 4-0 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana for the team’s first SEC victory of the season. This was also the first win Florida has had against a conference opponent in 705 days.

Florida freshman forward Megan Hinnenkamp claimed her second multi-goal match of the season as she netted two of the Gators’ four goals.

UF got off to an energized start and applied the majority of the early pressure. Florida redshirt senior defender Daviana Vaka put the first shot of the game on goal toward the top right corner.

In the 10th minute, LSU sophomore forward Sage Glover blasted a shot off the crossbar that landed on the goal stripe but did not cross. 

Just about one minute later, graduate Tigers goalkeeper Mollee Swift met freshman Gators forward Megan Hinnenkamp at the ball and blocked her shot attempt.

In the 15th minute, Florida senior midfielder Julianne Leskauskas took advantage of a missed kick by Swift and put a wide-open shot in the net to give the Gators the early lead.

Leskauskas put another shot on goal moments later but Swift managed to come up with the diving save.

In the 21st minute, Hinnenkamp scored her SEC-freshman-leading fifth goal of the season on a header that came off a set-piece pass from junior defender Madison Young.

Senior Gators defender Anna DeLeon picked up a yellow card in the 30th minute. It led to a free-kick scoring opportunity that was well defended by Florida.

Glover sent a shot across the pitch just wide of the left post. 

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In the 37th minute, Florida freshman forward Lena Bailey put a shot on goal right into the arms of Swift.

The Gators entered the halftime break with a two-goal lead. UF outshot LSU eight to five in the half and dominated the majority of possession.

Florida was aggressive yet again to start the second half and earned two corner kicks within the first five minutes due to its efforts.

The Gators’ defense continued to dominate in the second half. For every Tigers offensive push, Florida was right there to stifle the opportunities.

Hinnenkamp fought her way toward the goal and got off a shot that Swift saved.

DeLeon scored her first goal of the season in the 67th minute on a beautifully placed header over the reach of Swift to give the Gators a 3-0 lead. 

In the 74th minute, Hinnenkamp snuck a shot under the crossbar for her second goal of the night.

Florida traded possession with LSU down the stretch and picked up the blowout win.

The Gators will next play at Donald R. Dizney Stadium against Mississippi State at 6 p.m. Thursday. The match will be streamed on SEC Network+.

Contact Austin Stirling at Follow him on Twitter @austinstirlingg

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Austin Stirling

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.

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