ESPN 850 WRUF – Gainesville, Florida

Coach Burleigh Wants 'Tougher' Florida Soccer Team

By on October 11th, 2013

Senior Caroline Triglia and the Gators are looking to toughen up defensively

Becky Burleigh's had enough of the lack of physicality from her team.

After a loss last Friday night against South Carolina Burleigh called her Gator soccer players into a team meeting and said defensively there was improvement to be made, most notably in the area of toughness. Florida responded quickly and held Auburn to just five shots en route to a shutout in their next match. The Gators will try to duplicate that effort tonight when they take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs in Starkville. Burleigh, referring to the meeting, says the team needs to let their actions speak for them.

In Mississippi State, Florida meets a team that has yet to win in conference play. But Florida also meets a goal scorer as prolific as UF's freshman forward Savannah Jordan.

Bulldogs senior Elisabeth Sullivan has found the twine 11 times this year. UF held Ole Miss star Rafaelle Souza off the scoreboard in their meeting in Oxford, and will have to do the same to Sullivan to give themselves a chance to win. But Gator coach Becky Burleigh says if that doesn't happen, nobody's safe from being taken out of the lineup.

Despite the better effort Sunday, Florida has still lost two out of its last three, with a loss to Missouri in Columbia coming before the defeat to South Carolina at Pressly Stadium. After Saturday's meeting, it was made clear what Burleigh wants out of her squad. Burleigh says she knows her team is capable of being hard-nosed like she wants them to be, because its a mindset and not necessarily a skill set.

Whether Florida's response to their coach's plea for “No More Mr. Nice Guy” is accomplished remains to be seen; but a good showing on the road would be a step in the right direction.


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