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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Florida soccer team battles rain, history in win against Tennessee

<p>UF midfielder Liz Slattery dribbles during Florida's 2-1 win against Troy in an exhibition match on Aug. 11, 2015, at the soccer practice field at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.</p>

UF midfielder Liz Slattery dribbles during Florida's 2-1 win against Troy in an exhibition match on Aug. 11, 2015, at the soccer practice field at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

Consistent rain and recent history in Knoxville, Tennessee, couldn’t stop the Florida soccer team from getting three points Friday night.

The No. 12 Gators (9-3-1, 3-2-1 Southeastern Conference) were able to take down the Tennessee Volunteers winning 2-1 and handed the Vols their second loss of the season.

Historically, Knoxville hasn’t been a kind place to the Gators and Florida’s win is only the program’s fourth on the road at Tennessee.

The start of the game was delayed more than an hour and 45 minutes due to rain and lightning in the area and when the game finally began, Tennessee (6-2-5, 2-2-2 SEC) struck first on a Meghan Flynn goal in the 22nd minute.

Coach Becky Burleigh said her team was prepared to come back after giving up the early goal.

“Once they scored first I’m sure they felt like they were in a pretty good situation given the fact that they’ve only given up five all year,” Burleigh said.

“It was just one of those things where it’s like ‘OK. We’ve done this before and we are confident that we can deal with it’ and we did.”

The Gators equalized in the 34th minute when junior forward Brooke Sharp scored her eighth goal of the season off a Rachelle Smith cross.

Sharp scored from about eight yards out after Smith’s cross bounced around in the box.

Burleigh was pleased that the team capitalized on their scoring opportunities.

“Well to score two against Tennessee is a pretty big deal since they’ve only given up five all year,” she said.

In the 42nd minute junior midfielders Meggie Dougherty Howard and Liz Slattery connected on a combination passing play and Slattery put it in the back of the net for her third goal of the season.

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The Gators would take a 2-1 lead into the locker room at halftime.

In the end, the two first-half goals would be all the team needed to claim a victory.

The Gators outshot the Volunteers 19 to 12 and had 10 shots on goal.

Freshman goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese remains undefeated this season following the win and Burleigh said she will decide who will start in goal against LSU later this weekend.

Marckese made four saves in the game and allowed one goal against.

Despite waiting for kickoff and giving up an early goal, Burleigh was pleased with her team’s performance.

“I think our team handled it pretty well,” Burleigh said. “I thought was a tremendous response by our group.”

Follow Ryan Summers on Twitter @RyanSummers18

UF midfielder Liz Slattery dribbles during Florida's 2-1 win against Troy in an exhibition match on Aug. 11, 2015, at the soccer practice field at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

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