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Saturday, June 15, 2024

When the No. 13 Gators embarked on their second Southeastern Conference road trip of the season, they were fresh off their best offensive weekend of the year.

Unfortunately for Florida, its offensive assertion didn’t follow the Gators on the road to Alabama. Florida managed a tie against the Crimson Tide but lost to Auburn to cap the road trip.

“It was a rough weekend for sure,” coach Becky Burleigh said. “We have high expectations for this team. Certainly getting one point out of an SEC weekend isn’t where we want to be.”

The Gators gave up late goals in both games, and Auburns’ game-winning score came off a corner kick in the 89th minute.

The goal was the second off of a corner kick and the fourth with less than five minutes left.

This was, however, the first time a pivotal goal resulted in a Florida loss.

“Everyone is aware of the situation, maybe in some cases too aware,” Burleigh said. “It’s something that’s been in our head a little bit, but I don’t think it’s a lack of effort. It’s a lack of execution.”

The Gators now prepare to play Tennessee and Georgia at home, where they remain undefeated. Florida is 2-2-2 in its past three road trips.

“The most important thing is consistency,” midfielder Tahnai Annis said. “Being relentless against these teams and getting early goals is key in beating these teams.”

To stay consistent, the Gators know they have to read their teammates better.

“For me, connection is key,” midfielder Erika Tymrak said. “I usually play with Tahnai (Annis), McKenzie (Barney), Taylor (Travis), and Lindsay Thompson. I make sure that I’m always feeding off their runs. I know I can find them whether it be a through ball or over the top, but as long as we stay connected the goals will come.”

Florida’s identity this season has relied on its solid defense turning into quick offense. The Gators have done a good job keeping possession this season. They are in top form when they play timely through balls in space.

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“We came to the realization that we are at our best when we connect passes and play one-two touch,” Tymrak said. “We told ourselves that we just have to keep that up. If we play our game, then the goals will come and we will probably be successful.”

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