Women’s soccer falls to No. 7 Florida, 6-0
A strong opening defensive effort from the JU women’s soccer team wasn’t quite enough to hold No. 7 Florida at bay as the Dolphins fell, 6-0, on Friday night at the James G. Pressly Stadium in front of 1,577.

The Dolphins (2-3) dropped their first match on a Friday this season as they were outshot by the Gators (5-0), 30-4. Junior goalie Alexa Rooney made several stunning saves in the first half to keep the green and gold in the game early but the nationally ranked Gators would use three first-half goals to pull away.

“We showed some good signs tonight,” said JU head coach Brian Copham. “It’s not every day that you get to go up against a team that is that strong and I think we put forth a good effort. I’m confident we’ll be resilient and bounce back for Sunday’s match in front of our home crowd.”

The first opportunity of the match presented itself 10 minutes in when Erika Tymrak slipped behind the Dolphin defense and found herself in on goal. Rooney came out charging and made a great save, holding onto the ball and preventing a second chance.

Rooney was called on again several minutes later, making a spectacular, acrobatic save to push a Gator shot over the bar that had eyes for the back of the net.

The Dolphins won a corner in the 25th minute but sophomore midfielder Liz Fink’s delivery was pulled down by Florida goalie, Katie Fraine.

The Gators got on the board in the 27th minute when Lindsay Thompson was played into the box by Tymrak and the Florida forward slid the ball just under an attempt from the diving Rooney.

Florida would score again several minutes later on an unfortunate turn of events for the Dolphins. A hopeful shot from Taylor Travis from outside the box took a deflection and fell right at the feet of Tahnai Annis who slotted the ball home to put the Gators up, 2-0.

The Dolphins would win another corner in the dying minutes of the first half off a deflection from a free kick and the ball found its way to freshman Raquel Weckhurst. Weckhurst would play a pass to junior Jessica Hurtado but Florida would dispossess the midfielder and Rooney was again called upon to make a great save at the other end.

The Gators would add a final goal in the first half just as time expired with Maggie Rodgers scoring from eight yards out. Florida would open up the second half with a goal in the 51st minute as McKenzie Barney seemed to attempt to a pass across the goal mouth and the ball took a deflection, slowly rolling into the back of the net.

After a long spell of stout defense from the Dolphins, Mary-Ann Krlin would break the spell with a shot from just outside the box that slipped past the outreached hands of Rooney, putting the Gators up, 5-0.

The Dolphins would create their best chance of the game with six minutes left in the contest when senior forward Jelena Vrcelj intercepted a clearance from Florida goalie Brooke Chancey. Vrcelj looped a ball over the keeper but her touch was just too heavy and landed over the bar.

A final goal for the Gators would come inside the last minute of the match on a header from Natalia Torosian after an accurate cross from Brooke Thigpen.

Rooney made eight saves in 90 minutes while both freshman forward Courtney Conrad and Vrcelj put shots on goal.

The Dolphins will head back to Jacksonville for their home opener on Sunday when they take on Winthrop at 2 p.m. at the Ashley Sports Complex.