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Friday, March 31, 2023

Gators still have work to do in SEC tournament

The only certainty for the No. 7 Gators in the postseason is that they will play two games.

Despite finishing the regular season undefeated in Southeastern Conference play, they will need to extend their 23-game winning streak over SEC teams to 26 if they want to celebrate more than just the regular-season title.

"We talked to the team (Sunday) night and just said, 'Right now, our season is we are guaranteed two games'- one game in opening the game of the SEC Tournament, and I think we've done enough to be guaranteed a game in the NCAA Tournament," UF coach Becky Burleigh said. "Beyond that, what happens to us is what we make of it."

Burleigh anticipates new Alabama team: One of the guarantees is the match on Wednesday against Alabama, the 8th seed in the tournament. UF defeated the Crimson Tide 6-1 in the regular season.

Burleigh expects to see changes in Alabama's game plan as a result of the lopsided loss.

"When you are a team that wins a game like that, you feel like you really don't have to change anything because you were successful the first time," she said. "A team that loses a game like that wants to make changes, so they don't have the same outcome.

We expect Alabama to throw a lot at us."

Tournament is a good time: Soccer is one of the select SEC sports that has a tournament decide its champion.

No matter what anyone else says, Burleigh is a fan of the tournament.

"There has been talk in soccer about which (whether to have a tournament or not), but if you ask the players, I think they will tell you they enjoy the tournament experience," Burleigh said.

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