Soccer: Florida blanks Texas A&M 2-0
Kirsten Chuba, Florida Sports Talk/NBC Sports
It was the last regular season game at home in James G. Pressly Stadium for Florida (13-3-1) on Sunday afternoon, and it was a big one. The No. 7 Gators took on Texas A&M (13-3-1) for control of the SEC, in which was the Aggies were ranked first and UF second coming into this match. With two goals by Savannah Jordan, the Gators would win this game 2-0, making it the sixth straight shutout win on their schedule.
The game, like Friday night’s match away at Tennessee, saw little action during the first half of the game, going into half-time with a 0-0 score. Florida struggled to maintain control during the first period, and while there were a number of strong shots on goal, mostly by Jordan, none could be converted into points on the scoreboard.
Coach Becky Burleigh explained how in “the first half we got a little bit out of rhythm and were kind of falling into their game plan, which wasn’t good for us.”
Coming back into the second, though, UF looked rejuvenated, with Jordan scoring an unassisted goal off of her own rebound in the first five minutes of resumed play. “It was really exciting… I just continued my run and followed it, and it wasn’t the prettiest goal but it went in, so I’m happy.”
With 29 minutes remaining in the game Jordan would add a second goal for UF, this time off of a breakaway counter-attack by sophomore Christen Westphal, her first of the season. Said Westphal, a defender, on her offensive assist, “I just saw a bunch of free space so I just went for it, it was really tiring but it was awesome… it’s good to finally be a part of the offense.”
Florida was able to maintain control of the ball for most of the remainder of the second half, but neither team put any more balls in the goal, leaving the final score at 2-0.
Goalkeeper Taylor Burke had a very strong game, making a number of key saves and not allowing any points off of A&M’s 12 shots on goal. She said, “it was great to get a shutout, I always have to give credit to my defense, obviously, couldn’t do that without them.”
Now tied at the top of the SEC standings with the Aggies, at 24 points apiece, Burleigh stresses how “we’ve got one game, we’ve got to do this, we have one more step to take.”
That next step takes place away on Thursday night against Georgia at 6 p.m., and will determine where Florida ranks in the SEC going into post-season play.
Kirsten Chuba is a freshman Journalism major at the University of Florida. Kirsten covers UF Soccer for Florida Sports Talk/ NBC Sports Radio. Growing up in Southern California, she has long played water sports and is involved in swimming and club water polo at UF. You can follow Kirsten on Twitter @kirstenchuba. Go Gators!