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Sunday, October 24, 2021

Becky Burleigh ends Florida career with win

An era comes to a close

Coach Becky Burleigh ended her career at Florida with a 2-0 win over Miami. Photo from UF-Georgia Southern game March 11.
Coach Becky Burleigh ended her career at Florida with a 2-0 win over Miami. Photo from UF-Georgia Southern game March 11.

Just as in Florida’s final game in Gainesville, “Becky Burleigh” filled the air in the final seconds of the match. 

For the 431st and final time, Burleigh led her squad to a win. This time, the Gators overpowered Miami  2-0 in Coral Gables.

In a game where the result wouldn’t have stayed on the minds of fans for long, ending a subpar season when it comes to Florida’s standard with a shutout is a positive. 

While Burleigh’s last time on the sidelines, she put out a team different from any other game this season.

Florida’s started in a 4-4-2 the past two matches and eventually evolved into a 3-5-2. On Saturday, they graced the pitch with a 3-5-2 from the opening whistle. 

Delaney Tauzel came into midfield as a new starter. 

Beatta Olsson broke the deadlock in the 5’ after a mistake from Miami’s backline. In an effort to play out from the back, UM goalkeeper Naomi Mbandu left the ball in the box for Selena Fortich. Olsson pressed the defender, jumped in front and caused the ball to go toward the goal. It hit the post but the Swedish national followed it up with a shot that put the ball in the back of the net.

This marked Olsson’s seventh goal of the spring and provided more proof that she will serve as a  key piece for whoever fills the head coach vacancy. 

Despite the Gators’ strong start, both sides traded shots at three a piece and ended the first half 1-0. 

Florida claimed dominance in the second 45 and shot the ball six times compared to the Canes one. 

UF added another goal in the 81’ through Samantha Tobar, her first goal of the season.

Maddy Alexander showcased her playmaking ability again and started the sequence that led to the goal.

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She drove the ball forward through the midfield with Kouri Peace making the run down the wing to her right. After she played Peace into space, the sophomore cut the ball back across to Tobar, who pinged a ball  into the back of the net.

The two-goal win wasn’t only a goodbye for Burleigh but also for associate head coaches Vic Campbell and Alan Kirkup and eight graduating seniors.

Contact Myles Herbert at mherbert@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @myles_herbert



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