With a matchup between France and Croatia set for the World Cup Final, our staff, which doesn’t know very much about soccer, is here to give you its predictions on which team it believes will come out victorious on Sunday. Our report consists of sports writers Chris O’Brien, Mark Stine, Andrew Huang, Brendan Farrell and Evan Lepak.
Sports | Soccer
Even though the Gators advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament, their postseason run isn’t what defines them. What summed up their season more than anything was the surprise the seniors organized for coach Becky Burleigh before UF’s first game.
Kaylan Marckese froze. Moving to her right, UF’s junior goalkeeper realized the shot by South Carolina’s Lindsey Lane was actually twisting to her left, but it was too late.
Gabby Seiler was in obvious discomfort early in the first half of Sunday’s NCAA Tournament Round of 16 win over Washington State. Playing in a knee brace and only one day’s rest, the senior and UF team captain was favoring the leg she injured in an Oct. 22 win at Tennessee after a WSU defender tackled her from behind.
Deanne Rose stood inside the Washington State box with open arms as her teammates rushed from the sidelines. The freshman had just scored in double overtime for her fifth game-winning goal of the season, helping Florida advance to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
Just before halftime, Mayra Pelayo measured up a cross with her weaker left foot while a cluster of hungry Gators waited in the box. She miss-hit the pass with such perfection that it arched over the heads of everyone in the area and into the top corner. Goal, Florida.
For the second week in a row, Florida will play host for the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship.
Freshman Madison Alexander waited patiently inside the South Alabama box as midfielders Gabby Seiler and Sarah Troccoli traded passes. Seiler found space on the left flank and served a cross towards the six-yard box. Alexander jumped all over Seiler’s ball, placing it past goalkeeper Justice Stanford to open the scoring in the 34th minute.
Becky Burleigh knows not to overlook South Alabama.
Nobody who had ever seen a soccer match would mistake young Samantha Chung for a great player. She wasn’t even average.
There was a small eruption inside the Lemerand Athletic Center on Monday afternoon, as Florida’s soccer team learned its fate for the NCAA Tournament.
Sara Wilson retreated into her own jersey at the end of the game.
Shortly after she entered the game, Lais Araujo jetted toward the Florida sideline. The junior midfielder hugged her teammates in celebration after converting her first free kick of the season in the 31st minute of UF's match against Auburn on Tuesday.
Elexa Bahr dribbled left, cut right and prepared to shoot.
Coming off an impressive victory at then-No. 11 Tennessee on Sunday, the UF soccer team has momentum going into its final game of the regular season.
Redshirt sophomore midfielder Parker Roberts, starting her third consecutive game on the back line, watched as Tennessee’s Danielle Marcano received a headed pass into the box. Goalie Kaylan Marckese charged toward the Volunteer forward but couldn’t get to the ball before Marcano got a foot to it to chip it over her.
Sarah Troccoli took the ball into the attacking third, cut inside from the left flank and fired a shot 18 yards from goal just before halftime. The junior midfielder’s shot curled over the head of Kentucky goalkeeper Abigail Zoeller and dipped under the bar, giving Troccoli her first goal of the season.
What a difference one week made for the UF soccer team.
Thursday’s game against Kentucky (7-10, 2-5 SEC), previously scheduled to be played at James G. Pressly Stadium at 6 p.m., has been moved as a result of the expected turnout of both supporters and protesters at the Richard Spencer speaking engagement. The match will now be played in Daytona Beach at Embry-Riddle University's soccer field at 5 p.m. Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin said he appreciated all parties involved for understanding.