Hurricanes Upset No. 21 Gators 4-1 in Opener
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Behind three first-half goals from three different players, the Hurricanes cruised to a 4-1 victory over No. 21 Florida in Friday night's season opener at Pressly Stadium.
After an early tally from freshman Paige Lombard, seniors Kate Howarth and Tina Romagnuolo gave the visitors a commanding 3-0 lead with less than 15 minutes to go in the first half. The Hurricanes, who had dangerous sequences off set pieces throughout the contest, utilized a perfect header from Lombard on a cornerkick from senior Ali Brennan to jump out to an early 1-0 lead.
A roller from Howarth past the outstretched arms of Gators' goalie Taylor Burke would double the Canes' lead to 2-0 in the 17th minute. Romagnuolo, a two-time All-BIG EAST playmaker at Syracuse making her Hurricanes debut, scored on a rebound header off a save from Burke to give Miami a 3-0 lead in only the 32nd minute.
Though the Hurricanes dominated the run of play in the first half, the Gators would get off to a quick start in the second frame. After recording only one shot in the first half, Florida threatened early after halftime, resulting in a goal for Claire Falknor at 58'.
Jesse Shugg, the leading scorer at FAU for two straight seasons before her transfer to Miami, opened her account as a Hurricane to regain the team's three-goal lead in the 67th minute. From there on the Hurricanes were able to control play, using stout defense from Blake Stockton and Brennan to ensure an impressive season-opening victory.
"We beat a very talented team tonight and I am very proud of our women. We were organized and worked pretty hard," head coach Tom Anagnost said. "Now, we must rest up and begin getting mentally ready for Sunday."
The Hurricanes continue their campaign Aug. 19 with a 1 p.m. tilt at South Florida.