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Saturday February 12, 2011Gators Fall Short in Overtime to No. 3 UNC, 10-9

Chapel Hill, NC

Despite pushing the game into overtime, the Gators’ upset bid fell short as the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels defeated No. 17 Florida in overtime, 10-9.

Florida was led by sophomore midfielder Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) with four goals on seven shots. In her first career start, sophomore goalie Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, NY) had seven saves for the Gators.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed but you have to give credit to UNC,” Florida Head Coach Amanda O’Leary said. “They played tough and I’m proud of the way we stayed with them. There’s a reason they’re ranked third in the country.”

UNC jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead courtesy of three different Tar Heels before sophomores Colby Rhea and Cullen got things started for the Gators. Rhea scored right in front of the goal off a quick pass from Cochran and soon after, Cullen scored two quick, unassisted goals to tie the game at 3.

Sophomore Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) gave the Gators their first lead of the afternoon, as she found the back of the net thanks to a great assist by redshirt junior Caroline Cochran (Annapolis, Md.). Cochran then found the back of the net a minute later as the Gators took a 5-3 lead.

UNC answered back with two goals of their own to tie the game at 5-5 heading into halftime. Donohoe scored her second goal of the afternoon to give the Tar Heels the lead again at 5-6 before Florida went on a three goal tear. Cullen scored two straight goals once again to put the Gators up by a goal before 2010 National Freshman of the Year sophomore attacker Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.) scored her first goal of the season to put the Gators ahead by two with 13:05 remaining in the game.

Donohoe scored her third goal of the afternoon from a free position shot before sophomore midfielder Kara Cannizzaro tied things up for the Tar Heels. The Gators then held possession for the last three minutes of the half while Cullen was serving a 3:00 penalty for a yellow card before making their move with 10 seconds remaining in regulation. A Janine Hillier (Farmingdale, NY) shot bounced off the UNC defense and Bruns’ shot bounced off the top of the goalpost as time expired to send the game into overtime.

Tar Heels’ midfielder Emily Garrity struck first in overtime before Dashiell answered with a quick shot that went into the top of the goal. The Tar Heels held possession for the closing seconds of the second half of overtime with their star attacker Donohoe scoring her fourth goal of the afternoon to seal the win for the Tar Heels with six seconds remaining.

The Gators continue their road trip by taking on Jacksonville on Wednesday, Feb 16 at 7 p.m. This will be the last road game for the Gators until April as they will begin a nine-game homestand on Feb 20 against Denver.

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