The Florida Gators soccer team (1-6-1) will rematch the Kentucky Wildcats (1-4-3) in the SEC Tournament on Friday. The No. 13 seed Gators lost to the No 12 Wildcats, 3-1, when the two teams played on Friday.
Their upcoming game in Orange Beach, Alabama, will be Friday at 9:30 p.m. on SEC Network.
The Gators wrapped up a disappointing regular season with a 5-2 loss to Missouri on Sunday. The team only won one game through eight games, and three of their six losses were by just one goal.
Head coach Becky Burleigh said the team is excited for a blank slate in the tournament, though. She also said she thinks her team learned a lot of lessons about Kentucky in their match on Friday.
“I’m excited to play Kentucky again. I think there is some things we can really improve upon there and I’d like to see how we can implement those.”
In their prior match, Kentucky jumped to a 1-0 lead and added two goals in the second half to pad their lead. Midfielder Parker Roberts accounted for the Gators lone goal with a 25-yard strike.
Roberts has been one of the bright spots on the Gators team, receiving All-SEC honors for the third time. She becomes just the 15th Gator to earn three or more All-SEC honors in her collegiate career.
She said it’s been a difficult season, but she’s grateful to represent the Gators with that recognition. She also mentioned that she’s glad to be in Orange Beach for the SEC Tournament because it represents a “new season” for the Gators.
“Anything that’s happened thus far does not matter. Obviously, we take those moments and we learn from them, but starting tomorrow, none of it matters. It’s a new season; it’s a new time.”
On the other side of the pitch stands the Kentucky Wildcats. The Wildcats will be making their first appearance in the SEC Tournament since 2015. The Ian Carry-led team boasts an experienced defense, but it’s the team’s offense that has been truly special of late.
Forward Jordyn Rhodes was named the SEC Offensive Player of the week after her performance against the Gators. Rhodes led the SEC in goals (7), shots (29), and points (15). The game against the Gators marked the second time this season that she scored two goals in one game. The other was the Wildcats’ season opener against Vanderbilt.
In addition to weekly honors, Rhodes was named to the All-SEC First Team. Youngster Maria Olsen, the Denmark native, made the SEC All-Freshman team.