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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
<p>UF midfielder Parker Roberts runs with the ball during Florida's 2-1 win against Syracuse on Aug. 27, 2017, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.</p>

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

After interconference play took the Gators to Ames, Iowa, UF (7-1) once again finds itself traveling westward as it takes on Texas A&M (4-2-1) on Thursday.

Coach Becky Burleigh, fresh off a win against Iowa State, said she was looking forward to her team’s second road trip in as many weeks when it leaves for College Station, Texas, on Wednesday.

“[Texas] A&M is always a fun game because it’s usually a pretty raucous crowd,” Burleigh said. “It’s been a good rivalry between our two teams.”

Following No. 6 Florida’s 2-1 victory against the Cyclones on Sunday, Burleigh stressed the importance of situational gameplay. She said practicing different scenarios will be useful for the upcoming SEC games, and that they’re always applicable no matter the opponent.

“It’s managing the clock; it’s understanding what the state and the stage in the game is,” Burleigh said. “I thought that that was something that we struggled with early in the season, and we did a much, much better job this time.”

Burleigh said that the situations her team usually rehearses include being tied or down a goal with five or so minutes remaining on the clock. She said it was satisfying to see that in action against the Cyclones in overtime on Sunday.

Some Gators got their first taste of SEC competition against Ole Miss last Thursday in a 1-0 defensive struggle in Gainesville. Freshman forward Deanne Rose was locked in several different physical battles with Ole Miss defenders in a game that featured 15 combined fouls.

Rose said, all that considered, the preconceptions she had of SEC matchups lived up to her expectations.

“My coaches and my team kind of warned me about how the SEC is played and how teams go after us,” Rose said.

Rose said she welcomes the extra emphasis opposing teams put on a matchup with the Gators. She said the top program in the SEC is supposed to get the best effort out of its opponents.

“You never want to have a dull game,” Rose said.

Sophomore transfer Parker Roberts, who played for Kansas, is no stranger to competing in the Midwest heat. She said moving back into conference play against Texas A&M will give the team a chance to refocus.

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The Aggies were picked to finish second in the conference in a preseason coaches’ poll. They’ve outscored their ranked opponents 7-3, including a 5-1 win over then No. 19 Kansas on Sept. 10. The Gators and Aggies kick off at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday.

“They’re a really good team, so we need to get back into our SEC mindset and be ready to go,” Roberts said.

You can follow Morgan McMullen on Twitter @MorganMcMuffin, and contact him at mmcmullen@alligator.org.

UF midfielder Parker Roberts 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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