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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Gators return home looking to snap five-match losing streak

Florida hosts LSU in penultimate match of regular season

Florida's Madison Alexander dribbles with the ball during a game against Kentucky on Sept. 23
Florida's Madison Alexander dribbles with the ball during a game against Kentucky on Sept. 23

Florida plays two more matches before the curtains close on the regular season. Ideally, teams begin to play their best soccer when the postseason rolls around, but the Gators sit squarely in the middle of a five-match skid.

Thursday’s match against Georgia nearly provided the late-season spark Florida badly needed. But the Gators’ improbable three-goal comeback effort was snuffed out by a late winner by the Bulldogs.

Even though the effort yielded no points, Florida will still take momentum into its matchup with LSU. Its performance against Georgia was only the fourth multi-score game for Florida’s attack all season and the first game with at least three goals scored. 

LSU (10-5) has drifted in and out of the top 25 all season. An improbable 7-0 record in non-conference play catapulted it as high as fifth in the national rankings, but a 3-5 record in the Southeastern Conference has seen the Tigers’ stock decrease significantly. 

Redshirt senior Tinaya Alexander leads the Tigers in both goals and assists, scoring seven while providing four, respectively. But Alexander is far from LSU’s lone offensive threat. The Tigers boast eight players with multiple goals on the season, to Florida’s two (Kit Loferski and Madison Alexander).

Much like the Gators, the Tigers have struggled to create goals in conference play. Before a four-goal performance against South Carolina last Thursday, LSU scored just five goals in seven conference games. 

Both teams found an attacking rhythm in their previous fixtures and look to continue positive momentum in Sunday’s match.

For Florida to win, they must show the same determination it displayed against Georgia. Thursday’s contest showed that the Gators have the ability to fight back from a three-goal deficit, and it’ll need that same tenacity in Sunday’s match against the Tigers.

The Gators take the field Sunday at noon at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. The game can be streamed live through SEC Network+.

Contact Ryan Zehnder at rzehnder@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @ryan_zehnder.

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