After a shaky start in non conference play, the Gators soccer team has been getting back on track, winning its last two SEC games against LSU and Kentucky. They look to continue that success this weekend against Mississippi State.
The Bulldogs’ season has started in an opposite trend compared to the Gators. After running through their non conference competition early in the season, they have been slumping as of late only winning one of their first three SEC games.
Coach Becky Burleigh Changing the Course of the Season
Florida head coach Becky Burleigh has been able to point the team in the right direction as of late. Instead of letting frustration boil over from not scoring often, she reminded her team to not overthink in scoring situations and to realize they can get many opportunities to put up good shots.
Now with some momentum on their side, especially on the offensive end, they can now put their focus on conference opponents. Mississippi State has a different approach compared to UF. The Bulldogs play a defensive minded, physical style of play while the Gators are known to be a team that thrives in offensive situations with their passing abilities. Coach Burleigh is aware of the Bulldog’s game plan approach, but she also mentioned that there are other uncontrollable factors, like the weather, that might affect both teams on gameday.
Seeing the Ball Hit the Back of the Net
Over their last two games, the Gators have scored a combined 10 goals while only giving up one goal. The Gators have been able to control the game on both sides of the ball dominating conference play so far. But, this recent success did not occur over night. They had to practice with different players in and out of the lineup and get comfortable getting repetitions with different players on the field. Senior forward, Alyssa Howell, noticed this game trend and mentioned that it is about everyone pulling their weight and not just one person doing it all.
Mississippi State looks to climb up the SEC standings while the Gators look to hold on to their place at the top of the standings currently in second place. With a Gators win this Saturday and a Vanderbilt loss, they both will be tied for first in the SEC. Mississippi State looks to use their defensive style of play to stop that from happening at the MSU soccer field this Saturday at 8 p.m.