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Thursday February 17, 2011Gators Record First Victory of 2011 over Jacksonville

Jacksonville, Fla.

The No. 17 Florida Gators picked up their first victory of the 2011 season, a lopsided, 18-9 victory over fellow second-year program Jacksonville at the Ashley Sports Complex on the campus of Jacksonville University on Wednesday night.

Once again, the Gators had a variety of offensive weapons, led by sophomore Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) with four goals for the second straight game, all of which were unassisted. Junior Caroline Cochran (Annapolis, Md.) and sophomore Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) scored three goals apiece.

“I think we’re a very unselfish offense,” Florida Head Coach Amanda O’Leary said. “If it’s not Kitty, it’s Caroline. If it’s not Caroline, it’s Ashley. It’s not just one. You might be able to stop one but you won’t be able to stop the other sticks.”

Florida scored within the first 90 seconds of the game as Cochran was fed a great pass from behind the goal via sophomore Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.). Jacksonville answered less than a minute later with an Ellyn Spangenberg goal from Chelsea Watts. It looked like it might be a back-and-forth matchup until Chesterman broke the game open with her goal from Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) and scored two more times in the span of seven minutes total. The Gators scored 11 straight goals in 17:01, including Chesterman’s hat trick, Cullen’s four unassisted goals and Colby Rhea (Abington, Md.)’s two goals of the evening. Bruns also scored her lone goal of the evening, an unassisted shot halfway through the first half. Dashiell scored the final goal of the first half for the Gators before Spangenberg scored again for Jacksonville to head into halftime, 13-3.

Jacksonville scored two straight goals to open the second half before Florida had its second free position goal of the night courtesy of sophomore attacker Janine Hillier (Farmingdale, N.Y.), who found the back of the net earlier in the evening during Florida’s scoring streak in the first half. Dashiell scored from Rhea to put the Gators ahead 15-5 with 15:02 remaining in the contest. Cochran helped keep the Gators’ lead with two goals later in the second half, her first since scoring the opening goal of the evening.

In the final seconds of the evening, two Gators recorded career firsts. With three seconds to go before the final whistle, redshirt freshman Erin Graziano (Mendham, N.J.) fed freshman Courtney Hoyes (Davidsonville, Md.) to notch their first points as Gators and seal a 18-9 victory for the Gators.

Florida outshot Jacksonville, 33-19, and scored on three of their six free position chances after going 0-for-4 on free position shots against No. 3 North Carolina.

The Gators begin a nine-game homestand to open the 2011 home season on Sunday as No. 17 Florida takes on No. 20 (Inside Lacrosse/deBeer Media Poll) Denver at 12:00 p.m. at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Sunday’s action can be seen on www.GatorVision.tv and can be heard on www.GatorZone.com.

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