Saturday April 3, 2010Lacrosse Holds On to Earn First American Lacrosse Conference Win Over No. 14 Penn State, 13-11
Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.) scored four goals and had two assists and the Florida lacrosse team beat No. 14 Penn State to earn their first win in the American Lacrosse Conference. The Gators used a 5-1 scoring run in the middle of the second half to open up a five goal lead and they held on in the closing minutes for the victory.
The defense was the story for Florida (8-4, 1-2 ALC) on Saturday, holding Penn State (6-4, 0-2) without a shot for nearly 14 minutes to open the game. After going into the locker room tied at 6, UF held the Nittany Lions to just two goals in the first 28 minutes of the second half. PSU scored three goals in the final two minutes to make the crowd of 1,016 nervous, but goalie Cara Canington (Bel Air, Md.) ended the threat with a save on a free position shot with 18 seconds remaining and the Gators were able to run out the clock.
“The defense throughout the game did a really great job,” said Florida head coach Amanda O’Leary. “We had some letdowns there at the very end… but I thought overall the team played a phenomenal game defensively.”
Bruns scored two early goals and had an assist to Janine Hillier (Farmingdale, N.Y.) as the Gators jumped out to a 4-0 lead before PSU had even attempted a shot. The Nittany Lions would not lie down though, as Hayley Sofarnos and Theresa Bucci scored back-to-back goals and Penn State outscored the Gators 4-1 over the final nine minutes of the first half and entered the locker room tied at six.
“In the locker room we decided what we needed to fix,” said Canington. “They had two lefties that were killing us in the first half. We really stepped up and stopped them in the second half and made the adjustments.”
Midfielder Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) scored less than three minutes into the second half to give UF a lead it would never surrender. Bruns scored again and goals from Caroline Cochran (Annapolis, Md.) and Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) gave the Gators a 10-7 lead. Mary Dean scored her second goal of the game for Penn State at the 9:15 mark to pull back within two, but Colby Rhea (Abingdon, Md.) answered less than a minute later for Florida and Bruns and Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) pushed the lead to five goals with just under five minutes left.
In the closing minutes, Penn State got two goals from Sofarnos and a goal from Erica Mihm to make the game interesting, but Canington and the Gator defense tightened up and held on for the final score of 13-11.
PSU’s Molly Fernandez entered the game with a team-leading 24 points, but freshman defender Haydon Judge (Chestertown, Md.) matched her step-for-step and held Fernandez without a shot the entire game.
“Haydon is a tenacious defender,” said O’Leary. “She’s got quick feet, the same as Molly does, so she matches up really well with her speed and quickness. Haydon did a really good job on her. She took Molly out of her game a little bit, but it wasn’t without the help of her other teammates. It was a total team effort out there.”
Florida outshot Penn State 32-22 in the game and recorded nine ground balls to the Nittany Lions’ five. The Gators committed a season-low five turnovers and Canington made eight saves in the net. Bruns led the team with six points on four goals and two assists. Chesterman, Dashiell and Hillier each had two goals for Florida.
Mihm and Sofarnos scored three goals apiece for Penn State, while Bucci and Dean each had two goals.
Next weekend the Gators will travel to upstate New York for two games. UF will play at Le Moyne on Friday at 4 p.m. and will face Colgate next Sunday at noon. Both games will have live audio online.