The Gators scraped up their first season victory on Tuesday against Division III UC Santa Cruz in the last minute of play.
The Gators applied pressure throughout the entire game on UC Santa Cruz, finishing with a total of nine shots on goal that caused the opposing team’s goalie senior Monica Chazen to make eight saves.
“Since it was still 0-0, and we knew we only had less than a minute to get it in, we just had to get that extra step and extra push and grind hard to get that ball in the net, and we made it happen,” junior Anisa Mahram said.
Although the Gators successfully pushed up the field, their ability to take full advantage of scoring opportunities early on yielded no results.
Assistant coach Robin Bowman claims the team’s adjustment to the new formation played a role in the Gators’ struggle to score.
“We are just asking our forwards to play nice and high and have everyone attack as a team as opposed to just a couple of players,” Bowman said. “So getting used to this formation was something that probably took a while for us to get a goal in, into the 89th minute.”
Vanni agreed with Bowman that they struggled with the new formation, but it allowed the Gators to pick up the tempo at the end of each half.
“We have been trying to emphasize playing with high energy for the full 90 minutes,” Vanni said. “So I think that’s kind of why we came out a little bit toward the end of both halves and played a lot better than we were at the beginning of the halves just because we, I think, are slowly trying to find our groove as a team, and so I think it finally kind of clicked.”
Mahram believes in the importance of keeping a fast pace with high energy, especially coming off the bench.
“I could tell on the field that we needed that extra step, so it was either go hard or go home, and so I just wanted to make sure that we were going to go hard on every ball and hopefully get that win,” Mahram said.
Bowman stressed the importance of having numerous players on the bench ready to be called on at any time.
“We rely on you know a solid group of 15 or 16 as opposed to 11, it just doesn’t work that way,” Bowman said. “You have injuries, things go down, you have to change personnel, change of tactics so it is huge for us when we can have players coming off the bench and have immediate impact, and that happened today.”
The Gators are back on the road playing nationally ranked Sonoma State on Sept. 14 at 4 p.m.