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Saturday, January 28, 2023

In the world of soccer, text messaging can be a very dangerous sport.

Although it was only last spring when the UF soccer team faced off against Texas A&M, goalie Katie Fraine can hardly remember the match - and her cell phone may be to blame.

"I was walking off the field, and I was looking at my phone, texting, when I ran right into a pole and fell backward," Fraine said. "I suffered a concussion, and the rest is a little drowsy.

"But trust me, we goalkeepers are the graceful ones on the team, kind of like ballerinas."

Fraine will have a chance to redeem herself Saturday, when the No. 13 Gators host the fifth-ranked Aggies at James G. Pressly Stadium. The exhibition game kicks off at 6 p.m.

With all electronics aside, Fraine may face bigger problems heading into the 2007 season.

The redshirt freshman currently finds herself in a heated battle for the starting spot, as freshman Meghan Berlingo has turned heads early on.

Due to her experience last season, which includes four appearances and one start against Fresno State, Fraine may have the upper hand. However, at this point, a starter has yet to be named, and the competition remains the vocal point of Gators practice.

"The race for goalkeeper is ridiculous. It's phenomenal," junior forward Ameera Abdullah said. "They're two awesome goalkeepers. Meghan came in strong, but Fraine has been working her butt off. It's going to be a battle to see who comes out on top."

UF coach Becky Burleigh said the decision is likely to go right down to the wire.

"I'm very excited about this for us," Burleigh said. "We're going to have to consult with our goalkeeper coach, Joe Hight. He's going to have a big say in this, and of course we'll all talk about it before deciding."

Regardless of who defends the net for the Gators, the matchup against the Aggies is sure to be a heated battle, despite the lack of regular-season implications.

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"We're looking forward to it," senior forward Stacy Bishop said. "We played them in the spring and it was kind of a blood bath. It was just a rough game. Tough and physical, both teams are looking forward to it. I wouldn't say we want revenge, but we're definitely excited to play them again."

Bishop scored a goal in the game, helping the Gators play to a 2-2 tie. Overall, UF has lost three of four regular-season matchups to Texas A&M.

Burleigh said the difficult contest is a good way to prepare for a season in which the Gators will face two top-10 squads in their first five games, including No. 2 Notre Dame.

"That was one of the reasons why we needed a really good opponent in this game," Burleigh said, "because our schedule does start with such a bang."

Preparing for the exhibition meeting should be no problem for the Gators, who, regardless of the situation, know how to get ready.

"Yeah, we're dancers," Fraine said. "We have this thing called 'bump bus.' We just turn up the music and get pumped up. You're looking at the best right here; I like to dance to J.T. (Justin Timberlake), that's my thing."

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