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Saturday, May 18, 2024

As the final seconds of Sunday's match against Tennessee ticked away, UF coach Becky Burleigh stood rigidly on the sideline seemingly awaiting something positive to take from the weekend.

But she was clearly at a loss.

Following an underwhelming start to the season, the No. 15 UF soccer team viewed the beginning of the Southeastern Conference schedule as a chance to start over.

As the Gators (4-4-2, 0-2 SEC) took a 2-1 loss at Georgia on Friday - their first loss to the Bulldogs in program history - and were smacked 2-0 by the No. 10 Volunteers on Sunday, it was changes in the lineup that were also important.

Katie Fraine, who had started every game this season before Sunday, was benched in the second half of Friday's game after allowing two first-half goals, and freshman Meghan Berlingo started against the Volunteers.

"I felt like we played three good halves out of four this weekend," Burleigh said. "Unfortunately our first half against Georgia was not our best. We're giving up easy goals."

The Gators allowed scores in the first five minutes of both matches, made more devastating by the offense's inability to answer.

But UF was shut out for the fourth time this season and has scored just 11 goals in 10 games.

Despite failing to pick up a win for the second consecutive weekend and forcing Burleigh to wait for her 300th career victory for at least another week, the Gators haven't lost confidence, despite the building frustration.

"It will come together at some point," Burleigh said. "But they have to stick together."

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