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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
<p>UF midfielder Briana Solis (0) celebrates with defender Rachelle Smith after Solis scored her first career goal.</p>

UF midfielder Briana Solis (0) celebrates with defender Rachelle Smith after Solis scored her first career goal.

The Florida soccer team got a result on Sunday night that it hadn’t gotten all season — a conference shutout.

Heading into the weekend, Florida had endured a recent spell of late defensive lapses in three of the four games leading up to two Southeastern Conference matches.

In the week leading up to the 4-0 win over Arkansas, the No. 8 Gators (13-3-1, 7-2-1 SEC) and coach Becky Burleigh emphasized the team needed to play a full 90 minutes.

Burleigh’s squad would end up delivering in both regards by the end of the week.

The Gators continued their five-game winning streak on Thursday night, winning in double overtime on a last-second goal from junior midfielder Liz Slattery.

And on Sunday, the team shut down an Arkansas team that had already been eliminated from the SEC tournament.

"Just getting the shutout means a lot to us," freshman midfielder Briana Solis said following Sunday’s game.

"That was one of our big goals."

Burleigh said she was extremely happy with the shutout and hopes the team continues to get better during a short week of practice.

"It seems like it’s been a very long time since we’ve had one, and I think (Sunday) in particular it was a total team effort to get that shutout," Burleigh said.

"We played a lot of people and it was really exciting to see us especially against a team like Arkansas who is dangerous in so many different ways that are not normal ways we see all season. We had to really adapt to them with that and I think our team did a pretty good job."

The shutout was only the third for the team all season and the second for freshman goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese.

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Marckese, who initially split time with redshirt junior Val Tysinger in the goal before stepping into a full-time starting role for the Gators as of late.

She recorded six saves in the victory, with three coming in the final 10 minutes of the match.

The six saves were also the most Marckese has tallied in any game this season.

The next highest total came Thursday against South Carolina when she had five saves in UF's double overtime victory over the Gamecocks.

And on Sunday, Burleigh tested her depth in the 4-0 win by playing 23 players and substituting out the three seniors in the 80th minute, giving them a curtain call on the team’s senior night.

Burleigh took off the three upperclassmen and replaced them with three freshmen — defenders Jessie Holmes and Courtney Douglas and midfielder Sarah Troccoli — in a moment that seemed to symbolize a changing-of-the-guard for the program.

"I think that’s awesome. Let our seniors rest a little bit, they always play so much," Marckese said following Sunday’s game.

"They give so much for us, especially us freshmen, that we want to do as much as we can to give to them and put that on the field to show our support and our appreciation."

Follow Ryan Summers on Twitter @RyanSummers18

UF midfielder Briana Solis (0) celebrates with defender Rachelle Smith after Solis scored her first career goal.

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