Saturday March 2, 2013No. 2 Florida Lacrosse Remains Perfect With Win Over No. 4/5 Syracuse at Orange Bowl Classic
Senior attack Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) scored four goals as senior attack Gabi Wiegand (Bay Shore, N.Y.) and sophomore midfielder Shannon Gilroy each chipped in four points to help lead the No. 2/2 Florida lacrosse team to a 14-10 win over No. 4/5 Syracuse on Saturday evening in the Orange Bowl Classic at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. The win helps the Gators remain undefeated at 7-0 and marks the first win over the Orange since 2011. In addition, it’s also the third win over a ranked opponent this season and second win over a Top-10 foe this season.
“I thought we went out and played really, really well as an offensive unit and I thought we did a great job in the goal cage with some huge saves,” Head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “Offensively we were really unselfish and we can have any number of players score when they have the opportunity. They all play unselfishly, so I’m just really, really pleased with the win tonight.”
The Gators used a balanced offensive attack from the trio of Cullen, Wiegand and Gilroy who scored a combined nine goals and were backed by eight saves from senior goalie Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.). Florida led the entire game, using three unanswered goals to start the game, but the Orange (2-2) didn’t make it easy as it cut the lead to two with 19:06 left in the second half.
Gilroy would answer the call with 15:46 left in the game with her third goal of the evening, followed by a goal from Cullen and Bruns to push the Gators lead back to five with 10:49 to play. The game fell silent after a Syracuse goal from Kaliah Kempney at the 9:45 mark as Florida would take control with three minutes remaining and hold on for the win. Gilroy finished the game with three goals and an assist while Wiegand added two goals and two assists to help lead the Gators to their seventh-straight win.
UF won ground balls 13-7 while also grabbing 12 draw controls in the contest. Senior midfielder Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) tied a career-high six draw controls on the evening as she also scored a goal in the contest. A total of seven Gators scored goals on the evening including three from senior attack Ashley Bruns (Ellicot City, Md.) and a goal from senior attack Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) .
Florida took control of the game early, with three unanswered goals from Gilroy, Wiegand and Bruns but Syracuse responded with back-to-back goals to cut the lead to one with 20 minutes remaining in the first half.
Cullen put her first goal in the back of the net with 18:08 to play off an assist by Gilroy and was followed up with a goal by Nora Barry at the 13:28 mark on an assist by Wiegand. Wiegand helped deliver again on her assist to Cullen to take a 6-2 lead with 11:20 in the first half.
The Gators were strong on defense, holding Syracuse without a goal for the first eight minutes of the game followed by an 11-minute scoreless streak mid-way through the first half. SU’s Bridget Daley broke that scoreless streak with a goal at the 9:15 mark as the two teams played a back-and-forth scoring battle for the rest of the half.
UF evens the all-time series between the two teams to 2-2. They last won in 2011 in the first ever meeting between the two teams while the Orange took the most recent meeting, a win in the NCAA Final Four that eliminated the Gators in a 14-13 overtime win from the 2012 postseason. While many have used revenge to describe the Gators mindset coming into the game, O’Leary said the team has moved past the 2012 NCAA Final Four loss to the Orange.
“This year is a whole new year and we have some new players so this win was all about 2013 and not about what happened in the Final Four last year.”
Florida is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts 7/9 Loyola (MD) at Donald R. Dizney Stadium with a 1 p.m. opening draw.
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