Savannah Jordan scored the game-winner in Florida's last contest, an overtime win against Mississippi State
GAINESVILLE, Fl. – When Florida soccer coach Becky Burleigh called out her team for lack of toughness following a home loss to South Carolina, they responded by showing physical toughness en route to a win over Auburn. In last Friday's road contest against Mississippi State, the Gators showed some mental toughness, grinding out a 1-0 victory in two overtimes. Still undefeated when scoring first, Burleigh says her team needed to be pushed to the brink like in Friday's match.
Now Florida returns home for a weekend homestand beginning Friday night with the Kick for the Cure Breast Cancer Awareness match against Kentucky. The eighth ranked Gators will try to win their third in a row, but to do it they'll have to go through the number 23 Wildcats. Kentucky boasts a better record than Florida in SEC play, with a 5-1 record while the Gators currently sit at 4-2. Florida also hosts LSU this weekend and Burleigh says she's excited by the challenges presented by both teams.
Kentucky's high-powered offense may test the Gators defensively, as junior Stuart Pope leads UK with nine goals and shares Kentucky's points lead at 22 with junior Arin Gilliland, who was named SEC Offensive Player of the Week after notching a hat-trick last Friday versus Tennessee. That duo, along with freshman Zoe Swift who has 18 points, gives the Wildcats a three headed scoring monster, and Burleigh has taken notice.
Florida will hope its home field advantage will help them tame the Wildcats. Florida is 7-2 at home this season, with losses coming against third ranked Florida State and seventh ranked South Carolina. Kickoff from Pressly Stadium is at 6:30 on Friday evening.