Miami Chomps Gators in Overtime
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Hurricanes stormed the pitch.
After a nearly 100-minute hard-fought battle with rival Florida, Miami rewrote the history books.
Junior Taylor Shell slipped the golden goal past Florida goalkeeper Alexa Goldberg to lead the Canes to a 1-0 win Sunday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
“It’s a significant result,” Miami head coach Sarah Barnes said. “It’s been a challenging couple of years, and we’ve been building toward this kind of momentum. We put in such a different performance than Thursday. We learned from our previous games and adjusted our mindset and our play. We are a good team, and we have a lot of good players. We really fought from the start to the finish.”
The game-winning tally in extra time secured the Hurricanes’ first victory over the Gators (0-3-1) since 2012. Miami (2-1) has now won five of its last six road openers, including three of four under Barnes’ guidance.
“It was the relentless type of performance we’ve been talking about,” Barnes said. “When you feel like you can’t, you have to tell yourself, ‘You can.’ They did that today. And now they know they’re capable of it. They can do it and they can do it every single day. I’m so proud of them.”
Following a Florida foul, UM was awarded a free kick just across midfield. Canes keeper Melissa Dagenais looped a ball deep into UF territory and the Gators’ defense attempted to clear the threat.
But with less than 30 seconds remaining in the session, Miami pounced on the opportunity.
María Jakobsdóttir settled the ball at her feet and sent a picture-perfect through ball, leading Shell towards the goal.
The 5-foot-2 midfielder/defender lunged with her right foot and poked it into the back of the cage, resulting in an orange and green dogpile on the Gators’ home turf.
“I will remember this goal forever,” Shell said. “This is definitely at the top of my list—scoring in overtime to secure the win against Florida.”
Shell made her third straight start to begin the season, getting the nod on the Hurricanes’ back line.
After regulation, Barnes and her staff made a tactical switch that paid immediate dividends.
“Taylor is exceptional in and around the box, that’s why we put her up there in the overtime. María had great vision and played a great ball in. I thought Taylor used her body really well and then she did what she does best. She’s very composed in and around the box and tucked it away.”
Miami registered only one shot on goal, but it proved to be the difference. The Hurricanes earned their second clean sheet of the season behind Dagenais’ season-high seven saves.
After winning Sunday’s Sunshine State showdown, the Canes visit the Missouri Tigers Thursday evening at Audrey J. Walton Soccer Stadium.
“Florida is a great opponent,” Shell said. “Coming here on their home turf and getting that result is great momentum heading into Missouri. Hopefully, we can get another SEC win on the road.”