The University of Florida soccer team ended their year with a loss to Duke last Sunday. This was the Gators’ third and final game of their post-season. The final score was 1-2.
Florida head coach Becky Burleigh says it wasn’t so much ending the season on a loss that was the toughest part of Sunday’s game, but rather the realization for these players that that game was the last time that the team would play together as a group. Burleigh says that what this team had was special and you don’t find that in most other teams.
Gator soccer started off their season as the preseason pick for the 2015 league title according to SEC coaches. They finished their regular season with 19 wins, 4 losses, and 1 tie. The team’s losses came from Ohio State, Texas A&M, Auburn, and Duke. The team had some great accomplishments throughout the season, including taking the SEC title and SEC Tournament with a 2-1 win over two-time defending tournament champion Texas A&M.
Key playmakers on the team included junior forward Savannah Jordan, and Senior defenders Claire Falknor and Christen Westphal. All three of these players received All-SEC honors in 2015. Burleigh says that even though it is sad to see the seniors go, their accomplishments will always be remembered.
The 2016 Gator Soccer team will be made up of mostly returners. 15 of the 32 players on last year’s team were freshman. Burleigh expects some of these new players to emerge as leaders for the 2016 season.