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Thursday, March 23, 2023

UF prepares for second-round matchup with Georgia

Wednesday's match ended up being a nail biter for the Gators, but it was just a few plays away from being an easy win for them.

No. 7 UF had its chances to score early in the match. Instead, Alabama was able to counter one of the attacks and turn it into a goal to put itself ahead 1-0.

The Gators (17-2-1, 11-0 Southeastern Conference) were able to recover and avoid the near upset, but they will need to take advantage of their early chances better if they are to get past fourth-seeded Georgia (10-9-1, 7-3-1 SEC) today.

"It doesn't matter how you advanced, as long as you advanced, but you have to learn lessons from the game you played," UF coach Becky Burleigh said after Wednesday's match. "The lesson from tonight is, don't let easy opportunities pass you by."

Getting those early scores was something UF couldn't do in its first meeting with Georgia. The Gators outshot the Bulldogs 9 to 4 in the first half - although none of Georgia's shots were on goal - yet it could not get one past goalie Michelle Betos.

The Gators were able to escape that match with a 2-1 overtime win.

They may not be as lucky if they don't capitalize on their chances early on.

"When you get to the postseason, you can't let easy chances slip, by thinking you are going to get more and more opportunities," Burleigh said.

To make sure those scoring opportunities aren't wasted, UF must go into the match with a better state of mind.

Junior Ashlee Elliott said the energy level of Alabama caught them off guard, and other teams are going to bring that same type of intensity from here on out.

"We have to go into (the Georgia) match more mentally prepared," she said.

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