Even though the team lost, head coach Linda Hamilton thought it was a good game for the team.
“All of these games that our non-conference are meant to prepare us for the conference schedule,” Hamilton said. “We’ve got to do a little bit better on both sides of the ball.”
The game was played on the rain drenched field of Hodges Stadium and was delayed two hours because of a storm. The teams were forced to try and play a full game in the mud and the effect was seen throughout.
Both teams struggled to muscle through the water and mud, with the ball stopping multiple times as players from both teams came down on breakaways.
In the 28th minute Navy’s Paloma Perez took a shot from the right side that went off of the crossbar and bounced in front of the net. Navy’s Morgan Dankanich found the ball in the box and put it into the back of the net for the first goal of the goal.
In less than ten minutes Navy had a two-goal advantage over UNF. On another rebound goal, Navy’s Jade Seabrook was able to control a rebound after a Navy player sent in a corner and Kaylie Davidson headed it off the crossbar. Seabrook netted the ball and Navy entered halftime with a two-goal lead.
When asked about the teams sluggish start Hamilton said the team will work on starting as well as they finish.
“It’s great to be a second half team, but that doesn’t mean you can be a second half team when your first half is nonexistent,” she said. “We’ve really got to do a better job at staying consistent.”
The start of the second half began just like the first ended, with Navy scoring a goal. In the 50th minute Dankanich scored her second goal of the match as she received a through ball up the middle and slipped the ball past goalkeeper Rachel Beninati.
UNF was down 3-0 when in the 55th minute Keara Murphy went to take a corner kick. Murphy kicked the ball into the box. Murphy’s ball began to curl towards the net and managed to slip over the goalkeeper’s hands and into the top left of the goal.
The two goal differential was quickly turned back into a three goal difference when in less than a minute Navy was on the board yet again. Navy’s Ashlynn Soellner got control of a deflected pass and put the ball on net. Beninati was able to stop the ball but couldn’t get control as it slowly went past the line and in the net for a goal.
Down 4-1 UNF began playing aggressive. Carolina Lencina, who started the game on the bench for tactical reasons, was taken down in the box and the referees awarded her a penalty kick. Navy’s goalkeeper was able to get a hand on Lencina’s shot but wasn’t able to stop it as it went past her making it a 4-2 game.
The game became interesting when UNF cut the deficit down to just one goal. In the 66th minute UNF scored off of another corner. A UNF player sent the ball into the box that was knocked around by multiple players until Michele Larrinaga came sliding in and put the ball into the back of the net.
Navy sensing an urge to make some quick changes after two unanswered goals subbed in five new players with 23 minutes left to play.
UNF’s comeback miracle wouldn’t come true as Navy secured their lead in the 78th minute. Navy’s Julie Schumacher took a free kick from the center line that was controlled by Soellner outside of the penalty box. She took one touch and rocketed the over Beninati to give the Navy a 5-3 lead that would hold until the end of the game.
“We scored three goals in the second half, which is great, but we can’t give up three goals. If we would’ve just given up the two goals from the first we would’ve won this game,” Hamilton said.
Beninati was taken out for the second straight game-in-a-row after aggravating a right calf injury again. Hamilton said that the team will continue to rehab her and determine if she is ready to play before the teams next game.