It’s been the same old song and dance for the Florida Gators soccer team.
What happens when a stoppable force meets a movable object?
Florida lost its fourth conference match of the season 2-0 against the Missouri Tigers at Audrey J. Walton Soccer Stadium in Columbia, Missouri, on Sunday. It’s the team’s eleventh match this season without a goal, and even though it looks as if UF will just barely slide into the SEC Tournament, it’ll be desperate to end the season with a win to gain a sliver of momentum heading into the postseason, should they make their way into the SEC Tournament.
Although Florida (5-9-3, 3-4-2 SEC) would go on to lead the shot count overall, Missouri held court in the first period 6-4. The Tigers’ first goal came quickly when Missouri’s Sarah Luebbert knocked in a goal set up by teammate Bella Alessi in the 10th minute. The Gators only took two shots in the first half after the Tiger goal, both of them saved by Missouri goalkeeper Kelsey Dossey.
UF tried its best to come out on the attack once the second half started, with recently returned forward Deanne Rose taking a shot 21 seconds into the half, but it was simply no use. Once the Tigers’ Skye Kingsley put in their second goal on a tap-in during the 66th minute, it appeared to entirely suck the life from the Gators.
“The second goal was truly a back-breaker for us,” coach Becky Burleigh said in a release. “I thought we started the second half really strong. Came out with some good opportunities and pressure on them.”
Florida ended up in the loss column despite Missouri’s (6-9-2, 3-5-1 SEC) relatively sloppy play on the field, with the Tigers drawing nine fouls and two offsides calls to Florida’s five and zero, respectively. The Gators also led the shot count across the entire match, but they weren’t nearly as efficient, outshooting Missouri 14-11 but only putting four shots on goal to the Tigers’ seven.
Although it appears Florida will make the postseason SEC tournament—the Gators currently sit eighth in the SEC and the top ten teams get a bid—UF will have to put in a strong performance in its last match of the season against the Arkansas Razorbacks if it aims to hold momentum in its first match of the tournament.
That match will be on Senior Day, though, and Burleigh stressed after the match what it’ll mean to the team.
“Now it’s all about the next one up,” Burleigh said. “Arkansas will be a tough match at home, but it is our senior day. That is something that is important to our entire team.”
Follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells or contact him at [email protected].