Gators soccer, Kentucky, Auburn

Gators look to assert their dominance over Auburn

The Florida Gators (9-5-0) will try to assert their dominance over the Auburn Tigers (6-6-2) once again as they face off at the Donald R. Dizney stadium Friday at 7 p.m.

Both teams have had a fairly different season in terms of conference play. The Gators are 5-1 in SEC play and have won seven of their last eight games. Meanwhile, going into week 6 of conference play, the Tigers find themselves 3-3 and have won three of their last eight games while losing their previous two.

The Gators hold more offensive power, being ranked third in the Southeastern Conference in goals per game with 2.14. The Tigers find themselves in the other side of the spectrum only scoring 1.5 goals per match. Junior forward Deanne Rose attributes Florida’s offensive success to the wide range of scorers the team has had this year.

However, Auburn holds a higher regard to its defense. The Tigers have only let in 16 goals in their 14 games this season, while the Gators have let in 19 in just as many games. Remember that Coach Becky Burleigh planned the #1 schedule for the Gators who have faced tougher opposition.

Florida and Auburn haven’t met since the first round of the 2018 Southeastern Conference Tournament. The Gators were able to move ahead to quarterfinal play after a penalty shootout, following overtime. The Gators played the last 54 minutes of the game with only 10 players after Sarah Troccoli received a red card. Auburn was able to match the score in the 74th minute after a header from Taylor Troutman during a corner kick.

The game ended 1-1 after overtime and proceeded to a penalty shootout, where the Gators were able to overtake the Tigers 2-1 in penalties. Burleigh can not recall an easy game against Auburn.

Last Sunday, the Gators met the Kentucky Wildcats and came back to win the game 4-2. The game started off with a 1-goal deficit in the 17th minute, but the Gators’ offensive power was too much for the Wildcats. Three freshmen carried the Gators out of trouble.

Laney Steed and Ava Kuyken both scored their first goals in orange and blue. Also, freshman Kouri Peace ended a seven-game goal drought finding the back of the net for the Gators’ third goal. Junior Parker Roberts hit an 18-yard free kick goal with her weak foot in the 64th minute to seal the win.

The teams have a long rivalry dating back to 1995, that features a record of 17 wins and nine losses for the Florida Gators. There are only two draws in their entire history and they will be facing each other for the 29th time.

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