Running in stride with Auburn’s back line, Deanne Rose waited for a pass from teammate Sarah Troccoli. A perfectly weighted ball rolled onto Rose’s right foot as she took two dribbles into the Tigers box.
It was a look Rose had scored on multiple times for Florida. She swung her right foot into the ball, guiding it to the right side of the net.
Sarah Le Beau, Auburn’s junior goalkeeper, shuffled her feet and dove for the shot, stiffing Rose and any other chance No. 10 Florida (11-4, 5-2 SEC) had at scoring in a 1-0 shutout against the Tigers (7-4-3, 4-2-1 SEC) in Auburn, Alabama.
Le Beau was immaculate on Sunday afternoon, stopping seven shots on goal from the Gators offense. Though Rose’s first-half look may have been Florida’s best scoring opportunity, her teammates continued to probe the Tigers defense to no avail.
Coach Becky Burleigh, who after last week’s match with Florida State mentioned learning important lessons from a tough loss, said her team still isn’t converting on its chances.
“It was a frustrating game because I actually thought we played quite well here,” Burleigh said. “We had a lot of opportunities, but ultimately it came down to them finishing an opportunity they had and we were not able to convert the opportunities we had.”
Auburn’s second-half goal came nearly at the same spot on the field as Rose’s shot attempt. Tigers senior forward Kristen Dodson chested down a deep ball played from the far sideline from freshman Alyssa Malonson and, much like Rose, aimed for the far post. But unlike Le Beau, UF goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese wasn’t able to stop the shot, allowing in the lone score of the game.
Dodson’s goal was Auburn’s lone shot on target during the entire match. It marked the second time this season Florida allowed just one shot on goal. Getting frustrated late may have contributed to the Gators’ eventual penalty count, accumulating eight in the second half, compared to just three in the first.
Florida’s loss drops it from second in the SEC standings to fourth with three conference games remaining on the schedule. The Gators return home to face Kentucky (7-10, 2-5 SEC) Thursday night at 6 at James G. Pressly Stadium.
A video posted to floridagators.com contributed to this report.
You can follow Morgan McMullen on Twitter @MorganMcMuffin, and contact him at email@example.com.