GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Florida opened NCAA Soccer play with a 3-1 win over South Alabama Friday at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
With the win, No. 3 regional seed Florida advances to play the South Florida vs Florida Gulf Coast winner next Friday. The USF-FGCU match is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. in Tampa.
How the Goals Were Scored:
Quick passing led to Florida's opening goal in the 34th minute. From the top of the box, the ball from Sarah Troccoli found Gabby Seiler making a run down the left side of the box. Seiler took a touch to bring the ball deeper, then sent the ball across the mouth of the goal where Madison Alexander touched it in from six yards.
Junior Melanie Monteagudo took on a pair of Jaguar defenders to score shortly before halftime. Just above the top corner of the box, Monteagudo drove left, then turned to head across the top of the box. Her right-footed 19-yard shot curled to catch the inside of the far post to kick in at 43:51.
With just under 10 minutes into the second half, Florida pushed the lead out to 3-0. Monteagudo beat her defenders to pass to Troccoli wide of the box. Troccoli's 12-yard one-touch shot scored at the far upper slot at 54:03.
Audrey Duren hit the Jaguars' goal in the 85th minute when she intercepted a Gator back pass to score from eight yards.
- Florida advances after its opening NCAA match for the 17th time in the program's 21 appearances.
- Alexander's goal was her third of the season and second of the last six matches.
- Monteagudo's goal was her first of the 2017 and the ninth in the last two seasons. She is the 13th Gator to score in 2017, matching the highest number of UF scorers in a season since 2006 (also 13 in 2014, 2011 and 2006).
- Troccoli's goal was her fourth of the season - with all coming in the last six matches.
- Florida has scored three goals in six of its last 11 NCAA Opening Round matches, including three of the last four seasons.
- The Gator win halted South Alabama's seven-match win stretch, which included winning the Sun Belt Conference Tournament title last week with a three-match combined score of 11-0.
- Although the two universities are just less than 400 miles apart, this was the first meeting between Florida and South Alabama.
- South Alabama senior Rio Hardy shares No. 4 on the NCAA current career goal leader chart at 43. It is the second consecutive year Florida faced one of the current career leaders in NCAA Opening Round action, as then senior Tabby Tindell of FGCU was second with 66 goals in 2016.
Florida: 15-6, 7-3 SEC
USA: 14-5-1, 9-0-1 SBC
Florida ranks No. 16 on the United Soccer Coaches poll and is a No. 3 regional seed for the NCAA Championship.