On August 30, 2013, I attended my first athletic event as a student at the University of Florida. The game I went to featured two Top Ten heavyweights in the Florida Gators and Florida State Seminoles, who were ranked #8 and #3 respectively. I was honored to be apart of the fifth largest crowd at James G. Pressly Stadium as 4,279 came out to watch the Sunshine Rivalry. The game remained a defensive battle early on until FSU's Dagny Brynjarsdottir scored two goals early. Another goal from Michaela Hahn resulted in a 3-0 FSU lead at the half.
But the Gators did not roll over and submit to FSU. They came out in the second half and they fought. They managed to shut out the Seminoles in the second half and put a few more shots on goal as well. Overall, I was impressed by the play of the Gators. The score is not indicative of how great a game it actually was. The Gators moved the ball well and Forward Savannah Jordan lived up to the hype. The freshman, who has scored 5 of the 6 UF goals in this young season, played the entire game and proved she is a threat once she gets the ball. Her blazing speed and feel for the game make her a crucial weapon to the Gators and I am still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that she is only a freshman! UF's success this season will rely on her play. The play of goalies Nora Neset Gjøen and Taylor Burke also impressed me as they made some dynamic saves in the game that ranged from jumping over FSU players to catch the ball or diving to leaping up to tip a ball over the net.
From what I saw tonight, UF has a resilient squad with a "never say die" attitude. Scheduling FSU this early in the season was a good move as the Gators will probably not play another team with a caliber as high as FSU's. UF will look to rebound from this loss as they take on the Florida International University Golden Panthers in Miami at 7 p.m. on September 1st.
One last note: I was fortunate to be in the background of this GatorVision video when I was conversing with Savannah Jordan after the game tonight:
*Stats accredited to Gatorzone.com