Despite being outplayed by the UC San Diego Tritons, the Gators were able to hold on in extra time and scrape up a 0-0 draw.
The Gators were bossed around by the Tritons for the better part of the 110-minute game, with the Tritons taking more shots and having the better opportunities to score.
“I was telling the guys this is the first place team in the south,” head coach Joe Hunter said. “I think they played well, some good soccer very intense game, in the pace and speed of play.”
The Gators were playing with a makeshift back line due to injuries and suspensions to others. Players like sophomore Kevin Johnson and freshman Jared Magaoay were playing big minutes for the first time all season. Johnson was playing only his second collegiate game at the left back position, according to Hunter.
“I’ve only played defense for a year out of my 14 years playing soccer,” Johnson said. “I was pretty hesitant, but I felt pretty comfortable playing there.”
The midfield stayed strong throughout the game, with senior Jason Borges being a stand out. His work rate was excellent; he was always making tackles in the middle of the pitch and always fighting to win headers for his team.
“Borges is one of those guys that won’t stop running,” Edgar Villagrana said. “He is always trying to pump everyone up with his style of play. He is really positive throughout the game. Him and (Jairo) Magana are pretty much the core of the team.”
The Gators are looking forward to their last home game of this short home stand against Cal State East Bay Friday afternoon.
“It’s momentum and that’s what we need, Hunter said. “It’s something to hang our hat on. These next few games are up for grabs. If we can get these next two wins, we’re right back in it.”