The first half of the NCAA round of 6 match was tied at 1-1 with both teams scoring off headers.
Sarah Troccoli scored off of a corner kick from Lauren Smith after the first 20 minutes of the half.
In the second half, Duke took the lead in the 55th minute with a close five-yard goal.
Florida fought until the end. In the last minute, Coach Burleigh even queued keeper Kaylan Marckese to leave her goal and run down the field into the Blue Devil’s box.
The Gators performed really well defensively with Claire Falknor and Christen Westpahl playing the whole game.
“They were playing low pressure against us, so we had to start the offense,” said senior defender Claire Falknor. “We were just trying to find channels to play in, and Duke made it really difficult because they kept compacting the space. We just kept trying to find feet and send it through the midfield to our forwards.”
The Gators will be left without three seniors next season: Claire Falknor, Christen Westpahl and Lauren Smith.
“I know it’s really easy to just look at it as an ending of a season, but for me I look at the progress that this team made throughout the course of the year and the progress that our culture had made through the course of the year,” Head Coach Becky Burleigh said. “It’s exciting to see things in the future, and the difficult part of it is to have to do it without the three seniors, who have given so much to us.”
The Gators end their season with a record of 19-4-1 (8-2-1 SEC).