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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Deanne Rose, Parker Roberts setting the tone for Florida’s offense

<p>UF forward Deanne Rose runs with the ball during Florida's 2-1 win against Syracuse on Aug. 27, 2017, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.</p>

UF forward Deanne Rose runs with the ball during Florida's 2-1 win against Syracuse on Aug. 27, 2017, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

Parker Roberts received the ball in space above the Iowa State box six minutes into extra time. After nearly getting the ball stuck under her feet, Roberts peeked upfield in time to pick out the streaking Deanne Rose. Roberts’ perfectly weighted diagonal pass found Rose’s left foot in the box. Rose dinked the ball over the Cyclone keeper and into the back of the net. Golden goal. Game over.

It’s both Rose’s and Roberts’ first year on UF’s team sheet, and the game-winning goal at Iowa State is just a glimpse of the impact that the duo has made for No. 6 Florida this season.

Rose and Roberts have logged more field time through the first eight games than any other UF non-defenders, combining for a total of 1,257 minutes. The two have also combined for a third of UF’s goals (5) and two assists.

Rose, the freshman, a blue chip recruit, leads all Gators with 21 shots on the season and has converted three of those shots into goals.

She netted two against Iowa State, improving her season shot percentage from 0.0625 before the contest to 0.143 after. And UF coach Becky Burleigh sees Rose’s efficiency as a finisher coming along as the season progresses and the team gels.

“I think it’s more just creating rhythm between players,” Burleigh said. “She’s a freshman and there are a lot of new players playing in behind her too. So it’s just taking time to develop those connections. And that’s coming.”

Roberts, a redshirt sophomore, may be one of the new players Burleigh is referring to, but for a transfer student she’s had plenty experience on the pitch despite sitting out of collegiate action in 2016.

Roberts attended Kansas as a freshman, starting 19 of 20 matches in 2015 for the Jayhawks. She also played with the U.S. Under-20 team in the 2016 FIFA Under-20 World Cup.

This season, Roberts has been the do-everything midfielder for Florida, playing the third-most minutes of any Gator. She’s also third on the team in points (5) and scored the game-winning goal against Syracuse on Aug. 27 before registering the game’s final assist on Sunday.

“She’s just got such a high motor,” Burleigh said. “She covers a lot of ground. And it’s something we’ve been working on, trying to look up and find seam balls. It was a good one and I thought Deanne’s finish was terrific finish.”

Roberts and Rose will run their first SEC gauntlet this week when the Gators (7-1, 1-0 SEC) travel away to Texas A&M (4-2-1, 0-1 SEC) on Thursday and return home for a Sunday night match with Alabama (9-2, 0-1 SEC).

“I’ve heard that it’s really intense,” Roberts said of Texas A&M’s Ellis Field. “They have a lot of fans. So it’ll definitely be different environment.”

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You can follow Mark Stine on Twitter @mstinejr, and contact him at mstine@alligagtor.org.

UF forward Deanne Rose runs with the ball during Florida's 2-1 win against Syracuse on Aug. 27, 2017, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

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