Becky Burleigh wins final home match of career
Florida’s only head coach walks off Dizney Stadium a winner
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Florida Soccer Head Coach Becky Burleigh wrapped up her illustrious career at Dizney Stadium just the way she had hoped to, as a winner, as her team defeated Georgia Southern 3-1 Thursday night.
The only head coach in the history of Gators Soccer gracefully walked with her team from the far sideline to midfield before the match to accept various gifts and forget-me-nots from players and coaches, as she and her team watched a pregame video featuring former players wishing her the best and thanking her for the impact she made in their lives.
Once the heartfelt moment had passed, the Gators (4-7-2) were ready to send their beloved coach off with a victory, as they faced off with the Georgia Southern Eagles (4-11-1).
From kickoff, Florida absolutely dominated possession.
The Gators tallied 37 shots for the contest, including a 17-1 advantage after the first half, which saw Madison Alexander and Tori Grambo score the first two goals.
Alexander’s opening goal of the match came in the 17th minute off a set piece. Alexander and Parker Roberts stood just a step outside the Eagles box awaiting a free kick. After the referee blew her whistle, Alexander ran towards the ball from the left side, but instead of touching it she kept on running, which confused the defense for just a split-second, allowing Roberts to pass it directly to Laney Steed, who flipped it to Alexander and opened up a shooting lane, which the senior used to score the first goal of the night.
Florida’s second goal came off the foot of Grambo in the 31st minute. Georgia Southern wasn’t applying much pressure as she ran laterally outside the top of the box, and from roughly 22 yards out, she pulled the trigger and hit a low rocket off her right foot that flew passed the diving Eagles keeper to make it 2-0.
While Georgia Southern finally ended up scoring in the 86th minute, thanks to a break-away goal by Debra /Rulz, it was Florida’s Roberts who would seal the win for the Gators.
With less than two minutes remaining in the match, Grambo corralled a loose ball and saw a wide open Roberts, who immediately took a shot as soon as the ball touched her foot. The ball was kicked on a medium-high trajectory, which forced the Eagles keeper to leap into the air to try to punch it over the top of the crossbar, but she couldn’t execute the maneuver, and the ball nicked the bottom of the crossbar and just fell over the line for the final goal of the match.
After her team earned a 3-1 victory, Burleigh walked back to midfield to say a few words over a microphone, thanking everyone who was in attendance and to those who helped her live out her dream.
Becky Burleigh walked off Dizney Stadium for the final time in her career as what she had turned the University of Florida Soccer program into, a winner.
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