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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Soccer team's Annis’ 86th-minute goals lead Gators to tie, win

The number on Tahnai Annis' back is not appropriate.

There is nothing wrong with nine, but the midfielder seems to be more comfortable with 86.

No. 11 Florida (11-4-2, 5-1-2 Southeastern Conference) slipped past No. 23 Georgia (12-3-1, 5-3-0 SEC) when Annis scored the game's only goal in the 86th minute Sunday. Annis' goal came two days after she scored an equalizer against Tennessee in the 86th minute to help UF escape with a 2-2 tie.

Annis attributed her success to outworking opponents late in games.

"Sometimes the goal comes when people just do the extra little things when you're tired that others won't," she said.

The goal came when sophomore Lindsay Thompson crossed a ball into the penalty box from the left wing. Annis ran to the far side of the goal and, with no Georgia defenders in front of her, the midfielder headed the ball in.

Goalkeeper Katie Fraine's play was also vital Sunday, as she recorded her third shutout in four games.

Fraine, who made ten saves, was tested frequently against Georgia.

The game was played on a sloppy pitch, as half of the field was soggy from rain in Athens during the weekend.

"We knew (Saturday) when we walked on the field that it wasn't going to be pretty," UF coach Becky Burleigh said.

Because they lost a pregame coin toss, the Gators had to defend the muddier side in the second half, putting pressure on Fraine late.

"Anytime we tried to pass the ball, people would slip," Fraine said. "It definitely made it more difficult for us to defend in the second half."

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The win snaps a five-game road winless streak for the Gators, and allows the team to contend for the SEC regular-season championship with conference leaders LSU and South Carolina coming to Gainesville in the next two weeks.

"We have struggled on the road and this is kind of good for us to be able to be like, 'You know what? We can do well on the road,'" Fraine said. "We just have to get ourselves together and work a bit harder."

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