University of Florida Midfielder Delaney Tauzel keeps the the ball away from University of South Carolina Midfielder Hollyn Torres (#24) at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville, Fla., Thursday, Oct. 27, 2023. The Gators and the Gamecocks tied for a final score of 0-0. (Sydney Johnson/WRUF)

The 2023 Gators Soccer Season Comes to an End

The Gators soccer team finished the 2023 season without making the playoffs but with a much better finish than in 2022.

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Strong Start to 2023 Season

Although the Gators didn’t qualify for the postseason, the 2023 season was something to be proud of.

For the first time since 2010, Florida started off the season unbeaten through the opening six matches. The first few games resulted in a home opener 1-0 win against Maryland, a 0-0 tie at Miami, a dominating 8-0 win against Stetson, a 1-1 tie at Kennesaw State, and a 1-0 win against Charlotte.

It seemed like a completely different team from the previous season. Head coach Samantha Bohon named 36 players to the 2023 roster, making it the second-largest team in UF soccer history and including 18 newcomers.

Florida didn’t record a loss until falling 1-0 against No. 5 FSU. But after entering SEC play, the season didn’t continue the way it started.

Entering SEC Play

Florida entered SEC play with a 4-1-2 overall record on September 15, in their SEC home opener against Missouri. In their first three SEC games, the Gators had back-to-back losses falling 3-2 to Missouri, 2-0 to Tennessee, and a 1-1 tie against Kentucky.

The Gators were still in search of an SEC win as they entered their fourth matchup against LSU. Florida put on a dominating performance winning 4-0, adding a vital 3 points. This win meant a lot for the Gators as it was their first SEC win since October 24, 2021 (705 days). It seemed like the win would carry some momentum into the rest of the season, but the Gators struggled to generate offensively. After LSU, Florida hosted Mississippi State for Homecoming Weekend but the final whistle blew and the Gators lost 1-0 once again.

Midway through the season, the Gators continued to struggle to get the ball in the back of the net. In the next two games, Florida traveled to Georgia and tied the Bulldogs 0-0. After that, the Gators had to face No. 10 Arkansas which resulted in a 3-0 loss.

The final three must-win games

As the season came to an end, the Gators needed to win their last three games to qualify for the SEC tournament. Florida’s season stayed alive after a 1-0 win against Auburn on October 19 which marked their 200th SEC win in program history. The Gators kept fighting as they found a late goal to tie Vanderbilt 3-3 and keep them in contention among the 10-team SEC playoff bracket.

As the final game of the season approached, the Gators had to beat No. 13 South Carolina to qualify for postseason play. It was a hard-fought game until the end for Florida, but a 0-0 tie ended their season.

Florida finished the 2023 season with an overall 6-5-6, and SEC 2-4-4 record. Although it wasn’t how the Gators hoped their season would end, it was a positive result compared to their 0-9-1 SEC record in the 2022 season. The Gators have a bright future ahead for the 2024 season with multiple key freshmen returning to the squad.

About Frannie Ferreri

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