PROVO — In front of the second largest crowd in South Stadium history, the BYU women's soccer team came up short in overtime against the undefeated No. 2 Florida Gators Friday night at South Stadium.
After playing to a 2-2 tie in regulation, the Gators' Christine Johnson scored the game-winning goal in overtime in the 98th minute to give Florida (8-0-0) a 3-2 win.
BYU (6-3-1) is now 2-1-1 on the season against teams ranked in the top 25 and are 0-2-1 in overtime games.
"I think this team has proven that it can play with the best teams in the nation," said BYU head coach Jennifer Rockwood. "This was probably the best game we have ever had here at South Stadium."
In the first period of play, the two teams recorded a combined six shots as the Gators and Cougars fought up and down the field for control of the game.
BYU senior Terra Bigelow was the first to strike in the game as her header found the back of the Gator net on the far left side to give the Cougars the early 1-0 lead. Sophomore Jaime Rendich and junior Krissa Campbell were credited with the assist as they combined to set up Bigelow's goal in the 15th minute.
Nearly 10 minutes later, Florida's Stephanie Freeman drilled in a shot from 20 yards out off a free kick that hit the crossbar and bounced in the goal to tie the game at 1-1.
The Gators would score again before the period would end as Cougar goalkeeper Ashley Smith bobbled the ball and Florida's leading scorer, Crystal Frimpong, was able to tap in the rebound to give the Gators the lead 2-1 going into half time.
"During halftime, I told them they can compete with this team," said Rockwood, and the Cougars remained competitive all night.
As play resumed in the second period, the Cougars came out looking to tie up the score and in the 56th minute they did.
Senior All-American and Hermann Trophy candidate Aleisha Rose took the corner kick and connected with freshman Nicole Jensen from 20 yards out to tie the game up 2-2.
In overtime the two teams again played tight defense as the offenses pushed to get an open look. With 2:20 left to go in overtime, Monica Holyles found Johnson for the game-winning goal.
"We expected this game to be tight," said Florida head coach Becky Burleigh. "They have awesome midfielders and forwards — I really don't know how they have lost any other games."
BYU will play host to in-state rival Weber State 7 p.m. Tuesday at South Stadium.