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Missouri eliminates Florida from SEC soccer tourney

Special to Gatorsports.com

ORANGE BEACH, Ala. — Florida couldn't find the tying goal in the final 18 minutes, dropping a 2-1 decision to Missouri on Sunday night in Southeastern Conference Soccer Tournament second-round play at the Orange Beach Sportsplex.

"Credit to Missouri as they took us out of our style of play," UF coach Becky Burleigh said. "We were never really able to get back into it. I think that was part of our downfall tonight.

"In the end, we need to be able to play in whatever conditions and under whatever pressure. If we want to be the team we anticipate that we can be, we have to be able to impose our style of play on our opponent. Tonight we did not do that." 

The loss concludes fall play for the Gators ( 2-7-1). Due to the pandemic, this NCAA campaign stretches into the spring. Spring play can be played Feb. 3–April 17. The NCAA Championships field will be scaled back from the current 64-team bracket to 48 teams. The NCAA College Cup is May 13-17.

"This is an opportunity for us to take a pause, get refreshed, get people coming back fit and ready to roll," Burleigh said. "Once we get back in January, really focus on having a great mentality that would go along with our ability to play the way we want to play." 

Missouri (4-2-2) scored first when Macy Trujillo put in the ball from eight yards at 16:25. The play started when Bella Alessi won the ball above the UF box and then sent a slanted pass into the box for Trujillo.

Cassidy Lindley's third goal of the SEC Tournament tied the match in the 21st minute. From inside the Missouri half, Alivia Gonzalez slotted the ball through the center of the box. Lindley caught up with the ball, hurdled the oncoming MU goalkeeper to score from 14 yards.

Alessi gave Missouri, which defeated UF 5-2 a week ago in Columbia, Mo., in the regular-season finale, the lead in the 72nd minute. Trujillo's shot off a lofted ball from just above the six-yard box was deflected but Alessi put in the loose ball for the decisive goal.