CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Emily Lillard scored the first goal of the University of Miami’s women’s soccer season. And she’s a goalie.
Lillard’s second-half free kick from midfield slipped through the hands of Central Florida goalkeeper Connie Organ and into the net — marking Miami’s biggest highlight during its 2-1 loss on Sunday afternoon.
“I’m never trying to necessarily score, because it’s pretty unlikely,” Lillard said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press as the Hurricanes headed home from the match in Orlando. “I usually drive it just over the holding line’s head and try to get somebody to run onto it.”
Not this time, though.
Organ came off her line a bit as the shot neared, tried to make a play and the ball got through her hands.
“We were probably kind of in shock,” said Lillard, who was swarmed by teammates after the score. “But scoring a goal, there’s no other feeling like it.”
Lillard also made seven saves, but the senior from Overland Park, Kansas, will savor that one goal, which she thinks was her first since she scored on a penalty kick in high school.
There’s no official record of how often goalies score in NCAA Division I women’s soccer, though it has happened before, perhaps most notably when LSU’s Mo Isom connected on a 90-yard free kick against BYU in 2008. Isom’s shot landed about 20 yards short of the net, and then took a big hop off the turf and scooted over the goalie’s head.
“When we have long services, Emily takes our free kicks,” Miami coach Mary-Frances Monroe said. “She was fortunate that it was a dangerous service in.”
The temperature in the Orlando area at match time was near 100 degrees, and Lillard said her feet were blistered by the time the game was over because of the extreme conditions.
“Today was pretty brutal,” UCF coach Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak told the school’s website after the match.
A brutal day, but an unforgettable moment for Lillard nonetheless.
“It’s nice, but my responsibility this season is to keep everything out of the net because I believe we can be a special team,” said Lillard, whose team plays in the Atlantic Coast Conference — the deepest women’s league in the country with powerhouse programs like North Carolina, Notre Dame, Virginia and Florida State. “Scoring is definitely the last thing on my mind, but getting one, it’s very cool.”