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Sunday, June 23, 2024
<p>UF goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese allowed two goals against Texas A&amp;M on Thursday, including the game-winning free-kick nearly 45 yards from the goal.</p>

UF goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese allowed two goals against Texas A&M on Thursday, including the game-winning free-kick nearly 45 yards from the goal.

After earning a free kick nearly 45 yards from goal, Texas A&M junior defender Kendall Ritchie stood over the ball and surveyed the field.

With the game tied at one, Ritchie locked onto her target, and swung hard for goal.

Florida goalie Kaylan Marckese was off her line, positioned just outside the 6-yard box when Ritchie’s gambit paid off. Her game-winner snuck into the top corner of Marckese’s near post.

The No. 6 Gators (7-2, 1-1 SEC) fell to the Aggies (5-2-1, 1-1 SEC) in College Station, Texas, Thursday night in a 2-1 match that featured some of the most physical play Florida has experienced all season. A total of 25 fouls were called on the evening, the third most in a Gators game this year.

Texas A&M struck first in the opening half.

On a long throw-in with 12 minutes to go before the break, the ball bounced to sophomore forward Cienna Arrieta, who balanced the ball off her chest, then her head, down to her left foot, all between two Gator defenders.

Arrieta cocked her leg back and let off a shot from about 35 yards out. The ball took two bounces on the way toward Marckese’s far post and found a way into the corner after Marckese appeared to get a few fingers on it.

Florida bounced back early in the second half. Just across midfield, redshirt senior Gabby Seiler lobbed a volley into the path of freshman forward Deanne Rose. Surrounded by three defenders with Texas A&M’s goalie charging, Rose let the pass bounce twice, putting a foot to the ball and causing an Aggie defender and the goalie to collide with each other. Rose’s chip took a soft hop into the side netting to tie the match at one apiece.

But that would be as close as the Gators came to upending the Aggies all night. Constant pressure and double teams on defense forced UF off the ball on many occasions. Though each team had eight shots at halftime, the Texas A&M defense seemed to suffocate any potential Florida attack.

Coach Becky Burleigh said her offense wasn’t consistent in controlling the ball.

“The toughest part of that game was getting the ball to the ground,” Burleigh said in a release. “Then we didn’t do a good enough job of keeping it once it got on the ground.”

Even with her mistake in the second half, Marckese contributed her fair share to the Gators’ effort. The junior from St. Petersburg recorded six saves, often diving and sprawling out to extreme ends to keep her net clear.

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The Texas A&M win gives it the slight edge in a budding rivalry with Florida.

The Aggies are now 7-6 all time against the Gators, with the teams exchanging wins and losses for the past three games. The last five matchups have been one-goal games.

“You have to give credit to A&M for being really disruptive,” Burleigh said. “They kept playing a lot of long balls and the game was really physical. I’m sure that is something we will see again so it will be a good learning experience.”

The Gators return home to face Alabama on Sunday night at James G. Pressly Stadium.

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

UF goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese allowed two goals against Texas A&M on Thursday, including the game-winning free-kick nearly 45 yards from the goal.

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