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Tuesday, February 07, 2023

UF drops first game of the season in loss to Ohio State

<p>Becky Burleigh&#x27;s announced her retirement as UF&#x27;s head soccer coach after 26 years at the helm</p>

Becky Burleigh's announced her retirement as UF's head soccer coach after 26 years at the helm

“They were a probably a little better than we were expecting.”

Those were the words from UF defender Parker Roberts after a loss at the hands of Ohio State. A lackluster offense for the No. 5 Gators managed just four shots on goal during the course of the match.

Florida (2-1) was handed its first loss of the season at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium as the Buckeyes won 1-0. It was a first for Ohio State as well, as the Buckeyes picked up their first win after starting the year 0-2.

The first half was rather uneventful with both teams unable to score. Ohio State (1-2) came very close midway into the 17th minute when Ohio State’s Kayla Fischer launched the ball toward UF goalkeeper Kaylan Marckese. Marckese deflected the shot, but the ball didn’t go away from the goal as she’d hoped. Instead, it went over her head and into the 6-yard box toward defender Sammie Betters, who was the last UF body between the ball and the goal line. She leapt and headed the ball away from goal just before any Buckeye players could knock it in.

While the Gators started the first half strong, they found themselves in a trance as Ohio State placed shot after shot in their zone. UF found life at the end of the half, however, as it went into the locker room with a slight 5-4 advantage in shots.

UF particularly struggled with giving up set pieces in the first half, giving Ohio State seven corner kicks to its own two.

The second half gave way to much more exciting play on the pitch. In the 51st minute, UF’s Lais Araujo struck a curved shot heading for the corner of the net, only for it to be blocked by an Ohio State defender. The Gators found another chance only a minute later, with midfielders Parker Roberts and Sarah Troccoli both putting up consecutive shots in the box, but both were blocked.

The only score of the game came in the 56th minute when Fischer drove down the field almost on her own to knock in her first goal of the season and put Ohio State up 1-0.

The Gators had a great chance in the 85th minute from a shot by forward Madison Alexander, but the ball landed just harmlessly to the right of the goal, kicking off the outside of the back post. It would be UF’s last shot, putting it up 13-9 in total shots for the match, as the Ohio State defense held steady and ensured its first victory of the season.

Coach Becky Burleigh praised the Buckeyes for their defensive tenacity after the match.

“Credit to Ohio State for blocking some shots, having some deflections and keeping the ball out of the net,” she said.

She also stressed that the Gators must play better in the midfield in their next game on Sunday at Oklahoma State (1-0).

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“We need to put a little more defensive pressure on them, because when we did that our offense was generated from that.”

Becky Burleigh's UF team was shutout for the third-straight game Sunday when it played South Carolina in Columbia. 

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