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Saturday March 20, 2010Lacrosse Takes Down No. 17 New Hampshire, 15-3

Gainesville, Fla.

Watch Postgame Update (GatorVision Online)


Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.) scored six goals and the Florida lacrosse team beat No. 17 New Hampshire 15-3 on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville.


The win marks the first for Florida over a ranked opponent in program history. The Wildcats had been ranked as high as No. 12 in the Inside Lacrosse poll after starting the season with four straight wins. Losses to Harvard and No. 2 Maryland dropped UNH to No. 17 in the March 14 poll.


“We’ve been trying to put together two 30-minute halves and I think we were able to successfully do that today,” said head coach Amanda O’Leary. “It started on Wednesday when we came out and played so well against Marist, and today we picked up where we left off. That says a lot for this team. Although they are very young, they’re maturing quickly.”


New Hampshire (4-3) stormed out of the halftime break with two straight goals to cut the Gators’ lead to 7-3, but Florida (5-3) shut down the Wildcat attack and answered with eight-straight goals to end the game.


The defense for UF was outstanding for the second game in a row, limiting UNH to just 11 shots and three goals. Florida has given up just six goals on 21 shots in the past two games.


“We put in two new defenses [after losing to Johns Hopkins], and didn’t have a whole lot of time to put those defenses in,” said O’Leary. “The players adjusted really well and are coming through with the game plan that we give them.”


Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) opened the scoring with a goal at the 22:11 mark in the first half off an assist from Bruns.


After a seven-minute scoring drought for both sides, the Gators poured it on. Caroline Cochran (Annapolis, Md.) and Colby Rhea (Abingdon, Md.) scored to give UF a 3-0 lead, then Bruns scored four-straight goals for Florida to go into halftime ahead 7-1.


Jenny Simpson and JoJo Curro brought the Wildcats back within four with back-to-back goals after the break, but goalie Cara Canington (Bel Air, Md.) and the Gator defense shutout UNH for the final 24:19 of the game.


“Cara was phenomenal today,” said O’Leary. “She came up with some huge saves in the second half. We had given up two goals in the very beginning [of the half], so for her to come out and play strong in the second half is exactly what we needed today.”


Florida opened it up in the final 20 minutes, as Julie Schindel (Edgewater, Md.) started an 8-0 scoring run. Cochran scored off a pass from Chesterman, and then Bruns finished a shot in traffic to push the lead to 10-3.


Captain Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) fired a shot past Wildcat goalie Kathleen O’Keefe for her 15th goal of the season and Rhea scored twice to give Florida a 10-goal advantage at 13-3. Bruns and senior Kaley Pendley (Longwood, Fla.) capped the scoring for the final 15-3 margin.


The Gators now have 37 goals in the last two games and have scored 15 or more goals five times this season, winning all five games.


“It’s a matter of being unselfish,” said O’Leary. “We’ve worked the ball well offensively and have a lot of different scoring threats, so teams can’t focus on one particular attacker. We have a lot of depth when it comes to scoring and that’s really worked to our advantage.”


Bruns tied a season-high with six goals and had three assists to finish with nine points. She has 19 points (12 goals, seven assists) in the past two games.


Rhea scored three goals and has six in the past two games. She is one of three players (Bruns, Dashiell) to have a goal in every game this season.


“Colby is our worker behind the scenes,” said O’Leary. “She does a lot of work to open up other attackers so they have scoring opportunities. We really rely on Colby to do the dirty work and she does it willingly, and when asked to she can put the ball in the net.”


Florida outshot UNH 37-11 and had 13 draw controls to the Wildcats’ seven. The Gators had 15 ground balls, while New Hampshire recorded eight.


The Gators homestand comes to close on Wednesday night (March 24), when Cornell travels to Gainesville for a 6:30 p.m. start. The game will be televised live on FOX Sports Florida. 



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