Florida’s 2018 soccer season would look a lot like Sunday’s 1-0 loss at No. 12 South Carolina if it could be boiled down to one game.
The Gators (4-8-2, 2-3-2 SEC) were held scoreless for the third straight game and for the ninth time in their last 12. An 11th-minute goal from freshman midfielder Selma Sol Magnusdottir was all the Gamecocks (11-2, 5-1 SEC) needed to escape with a win in their home ground.
Florida was not without its chances, though. The Gators had 12 shots on the day, two fewer than South Carolina, but had six more corners. They also had three golden opportunities to equalize in the dying minutes of the game.
In the 78th minute, Cassidy Lindley crossed the ball into the box. Sammie Betters had her defender beat, but her sliding attempt to tap it past the goalkeeper came up just short and the ball landed harmlessly in the hands of Mikayla Krzeczowski.
Forward Madison Alexander had UF’s best chance of the game a few minutes later. With the goal vacant, her close-range shot was deflected by South Carolina defender Lauren Pinkham.
The Gators had a last-gasp chance in the dying seconds, but midfielder Tess Sapone’s volley from outside the box went just wide of the net as time expired.
“There were definitely some chances,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said in a release. “There were long stretches – especially in the second half – that I felt we outplayed them. In the end, we all know that we get judged by the scoreboard.”
South Carolina came away with its 10th shutout of the season. The Gamecocks have allowed just five goals this season, the lowest total in the SEC. In addition, Krzeczowski earned the 32nd clean sheet of her career, setting a South Carolina program record.
The only goal of the match was a pretty one. Sol Magnusdottir dribbled around UF midfielder Briana Solis and smashed a shot past Florida keeper Kaylan Marckese while falling away from goal. It was the freshman’s fourth goal of the season.
With just four regular season games remaining, Florida is in danger of missing the NCAA tournament for just the third time in its history. The last time the Gators missed out was 2002.
The good news for Florida is that it has an entire week before its next game against Alabama in Tuscaloosa to work out the kinks.
“It will be nice to have a full week of practice,” Burleigh said. “I think that will be really beneficial to us.”
Follow Sam Campisano on Twitter @samcampisano or contact him at [email protected].