GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The first collegiate goal for sophomore Alivia Gonzalez was the Gators' game winner Sunday as Florida defeated No. 15 Alabama 2-1 on a soggy evening at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
Alabama got on the board early when freshman Sydney Vincens intercepted a pass attempt to the UF goalkeeper and scored in the fifth minute.
Florida knotted the score in the 62nd minute. Kouri Peace sent the ball to find freshman Maddy Rhodes making a run through the far side of the box. Rhodes' centering pass found Madison Alexander at the near post, where she tucked it inside the post.
With time winding down, it looked like extra minutes were in store. Both teams came into Sunday's match off of ties - Florida and No. 8 Georgia tied 1-1 all and Alabama and Mississippi State also tied by the same score.
The game-winner started the same as Florida's tying goal. Senior Kit Loferski sent the ball to Peace making a right-side run. Gonzalez leapt and caught the cross with her right shin to score at the far post in the 89th minute. It was the Gonzalez's first collegiate goal.
Florida's Susi Espinoza recorded two saves Sunday, including an outstretched right hand to poke away UA's Macy Clem's shot to the far post in the 22nd minute.
Worth Noting: Madison Alexander's goal was her 12th for the Gators. She has scored a goal in each of her four seasons at Florida. Alabama is the second of a four-match stretch for Florida versus teams among the United Soccer Coaches top 15. Next Sunday, Florida is at No. 5 Texas A&M and returns home to play host to No. 13 Vanderbilt on Oct. 18.
Sunday was the first time in the 25 all-time meetings between these two program that Alabama brought a national ranking.
Records: Florida: 1-0-1, 1-0-1 SEC Alabama: 1-1-1, 1-1-1 SEC
All-Time Series Record: Florida leads 21-1-3
What the Gators Said:
On what Coach Becky Burleigh said at halftime, being down a goal... "She just gave a lot of motivation. She told us we practiced this, being down a goal. We were thinking we prepared for this so we put that practice to use and stayed motivated. We didn't let it get us down." - sophomore forward Alivia Gonzalez On how it felt to score the game-winning goal...
"I was just so excited, not only for the team, but that was my first real goal in college. It was just an exciting time, knowing that there's a minute left in the game and we had our first win in the SEC."
Florida makes its first road trip of 2020 traveling to No. 5 Texas A&M for a Sunday afternoon contest. TAMU lost 2-1 to No. 9 Arkansas today in Fayetteville, Ark. Sunday's match time is set for 2 p.m. ET and airs live on the SEC Network.