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Sunday, June 23, 2024
<p>Florida players celebrate during UF's 2-1 win against Syracuse on Sunday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.</p>

Florida players celebrate during UF's 2-1 win against Syracuse on Sunday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

Fans were getting impatient Sunday night at James G. Pressly Stadium. Calls of “Come on!” and “Wake up!” began to fill the early evening air as turnovers mounted and fans’ frustrations grew.

The Gators needed a break.

After Florida (8-2-0, 2-1 SEC) earned its first corner of the game in the 50th minute, a smattering of applause broke out. Then, a roar of approval.

Deanne Rose had just scored her fifth goal of the season to break the stalemate between Florida and Alabama. A header at the far post snuck by the Alabama goalie to give UF the momentum it needed to carry on to a 3-0 shutout.

Standing just 5-foot-5, Rose was asked if she scored like that often.

“I’m not very tall, so not a lot,” she said. “I just tried to get up as high as I could.”

For as sloppy as the Gators played in the first half — committing excessive turnovers, shying away from Crimson Tide attackers - the tone completely shifted during the second half. Florida scored again a minute and 29 seconds after Rose’s header. Gators forwards and midfielders began to find more space to complete passes.

“Obviously, we’ve had like, two games where we start the second half great,” Rose said. “So if we could just move that to the first half and we don’t need a good halftime speech to kind of kick our butt a little bit, I think that that’s what we can work on.”

It’s become somewhat of a theme for coach Becky Burleigh’s squad. Florida has found 12 second-half goals compared to seven in the first half. Over its previous three games, all six UF goals have come in the second half.

“We’re capable of doing that to anyone,” Burleigh said. “I think we just forgot. Once we started putting that pressure on, all of the sudden, that generated some of our offense.”

As for Rose, she’s seen a more successful role in the Gators’ offense recently. While she’s always had a consistent number of shots every game, her strikes are starting to find the back of the net in bunches. Over the previous three games, Rose has scored five goals to take the team lead in both goals (6) and points (13).

“Now I’m getting a feel for it,” Rose said. “The ball doesn’t always go where you want it to at the beginning, so now it’s starting to kind of go in my favor.”

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Rose said she’s always gotten encouragement from her teammates. That seems to be paying off now that Florida is about a quarter of the way through SEC play.

Florida will continue its SEC schedule in Athens, Georgia, Sunday night when it takes on the Bulldogs at 6.

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

Florida players celebrate during UF's 2-1 win against Syracuse on Sunday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

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