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Monday, June 05, 2023

The Gators ended the first half of Sunday disappointed, as they failed to finish some prime scoring opportunities and recorded only five shots.

But Florida came out of the locker room strong and focused as forward McKenzie Barney scored the lone goal of the game in the first 40 seconds of the second half on a beautiful through ball from Erika Tymrak, leading UF (4-0, 0-0) to a 1-0 victory over San Diego State. Barney has now scored in six consecutive home games. 

“The first half was not acceptable, and coach made that perfectly clear at halftime,” Barney said. “Erika (Tymrak) did a great job of committing defenders, and she was dribbling through the middle and attracted the defender who was marking me and that gave me an opportunity to make a run. She gave me a fantastic ball and I put it in.

“Although, I should have put two more in the back of the net.”

The Gators’ offensive attack consisted of short, quick passes in the middle of the field, which soon wore down the Aztecs’ defense and allowed the Gators more shots, a stat that tripled in the second half.

The Aztecs played an offsides trap with three defenders as they tried to gain control of the midfield. But San Diego State’s switch from a 4-4-2 to a 3-5-2 was detrimental, as UF overwhelmed the Aztecs’ back three with attackers.

“We weren’t happy with our performance at halftime,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “We have a high expectation when we perform, and that’s a positive, but we are still working our way to get better each game.”

The Gators’ defense, however, looked incoherent at times, allowing San Diego State a couple of good chances.

“With the defense, we just need to pay attention to detail,” Burleigh said. “I was very disappointed in our lack of execution. That game was like work, and our games before have been much more free flowing and we need to be prepared ... we need to do the simple things right, and we took too much for granted.”

The Gators play their only home game of September next Friday when they host Jacksonville.

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