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Saturday, October 16, 2021

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times New Roman;">On

Saturday, the goal post got in the way of glory for the No. 17

Gators.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times New Roman;">In

the final five seconds in regulation of 8-8 game against No. 3

North Carolina, Florida sophomore Ashley Bruns was able to hurl one

last desperation shot at Tar Heels goalkeeper Lauren Maksym. 

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times New Roman;">“I

didn’t even think I had enough time to rip the shot off, but yeah,

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it definitely hit the pipe,” Bruns said.

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The near miss would haunt the Gators in overtime. 

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With six seconds left to play before a tie would be declared, the

Tar Heels’ leading scorer, senior Corey Donohue, capitalized on her

final chance, downing the Gators 10-9 in the extra period.

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“We knew she would be the one to take the last shot, unfortunately

we weren’t able to get the double team down there fast enough and

that’s something we definitely had to talk about after the game,”

UF coach Amanda O’Leary said.

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While she wasn’t happy with the way her team handled the final

seconds of its upset bid, O’Leary was impressed with how the Gators

battled back after they fell behind by three goals in the first 14

minutes.

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Florida crumbled against the Tar Heels last season when the more

experienced team put on the pressure in the second half by pouring

on 12 goals.

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This time around, the Gators returned the favor by going on an 8-3

charge led by sophomore Kitty Cullen who scored four goals,

including two in less than one minute.

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“Once we finally got the ball, we just focused on keeping a little

bit of possession and taking a couple of deep breaths before we

went in and tried to start scoring,” Cullen said.

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Throughout the afternoon, Florida proved it had progressed in many

of the areas that had plagued the team last season when it faced

ranked competition.

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The Gators had fewer turnovers, more shots and drew even on

penalties with the Tar Heels. The glaring issue to O’Leary was how

poorly her team reacted to free position shots – which are

comparable to penalty kicks in soccer.

"margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 12.0px Times New Roman;">In

four attempts on the day, Florida came up scoreless on each try and

missed the goal altogether twice. The Tar Heels scored three goals

off its nine attempts.

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“That hurt us. You can’t have those free opportunities at the goal

and not take advantage of them,” O’Leary said. “I think that was

one of the things I was most disappointed in…There’s no

excuse.”

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Florida repetitively practices the free shots during every practice

O’Leary said, so she couldn’t understand how they came up short on

all of them. Cullen, who had the hot stick on the day, was 0-2

herself on free position attempts.

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