Saturday March 26, 2011No. 9 Florida Lacrosse Triumphs in Physical Matchup Against Ohio State, 10-8
The No. 9 Florida lacrosse team won their 10th game of 2011, matching their win total from a year ago, with a hard-fought 10-8 win over ALC foe Ohio State. The Gators move to 10-1 on the season and 1-0 in ALC play, while the Buckeyes fall to 5-4 on the season and 0-1 in ALC play.
The game was physical from start to finish and was certainly a game of runs. Florida opened the afternoon on a 7-0 run before Ohio State went on a 5-0 run that lasted into the second half. The Gators once again won the battle of the draw, notching 13 draw controls to the Buckeyes’ seven. Florida continues to outshoot its opponents, as the Gators held a 27-20 shooting advantage.
The second half was much tighter than the first but Florida held on for the victory, matching the Gators’ wins (10) from last season and ALC victories (one) from Florida’s inaugural season.
“They’re maturing,” Florida head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “I told them in the locker room (afterwards), if this were last year, we may not have been able to pull out this victory. But I think this team has a different mindset. They don’t want to lose and they’re going to do whatever it takes to put a win up on the board. We dug down.”
Tewaaraton watch list honoree Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) led the Gators with a career-high tying six goals on the afternoon, also tying her own program record which she shares with Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.). Bruns found the back of the net once against the Buckeyes, as did Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.), Janine Hillier (Farmingdale, N.Y.) and Jamie Reeg (Atlantis, Fla.). Sophomore midfielder Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) and freshman midfielder Krista Grabher (Vero Beach, Fla.) each assisted on goals.
Florida opened the afternoon with a 7-0 scoring run, sparked by Bruns’ goal 70 seconds into the game. Cullen then scored three straight, registering a hat trick before the first half was even half over. Her second and third goals were both off free position, the Gators’ only two free position goals of the contest.
Both teams were held scoreless for over seven minutes after that until Hillier scored to put Florida ahead, 5-0. Cullen scored back-to-back goals, the second assisted by Grabher, to take a 7-0 lead with 5:47 remaining in the half.
Ohio State came storming back, as the Buckeye charge was led by junior Alayna Markwordt, who had four goals on the afternoon. Jacqueline Orona found the back of the net 2:30 later thanks to a pass from Gabby Capuzzi. Markwordt scored again with 1:41 remaining in the half to send the teams into the locker rooms at halftime, 7-3.
Markwordt continued the Buckeyes’ scoring run in the second half, finding the back of the net a little over a minute into the second stanza. Jamie Beard scored 1:10 later to put Ohio State within two of Florida, 7-5.
The Gators looked to Cullen to stop the Buckeyes’ momentum, as she scored her final goal of the afternoon with 24:54 remaining in the second half. Maghan Beaudrault scored from free position to put the Gators back within two, 8-6. After nearly six scoreless minutes, Dashiell found Chesterman to put Florida up by three, 9-6.
Ohio State found its way back in, scoring back-to-back goals by Brittney Zerhusen and Markwordt, to bring the score to 9-8 and give the Gators its smallest lead since Bruns’ goal in the beginning of the game. Markwordt’s goal came on an open net as she caused a Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.) turnover and was able to score before the Gator defense could respond.
The next draw was crucial for Florida, as the momentum was beginning to shift back towards the Ohio State. A clutch draw control by Reeg sealed the win for the Gators, as she was able to out-run the Buckeyes and score just 10 seconds after Markwordt brought the game within one. Florida’s defense staved off Ohio State’s final shot attempts and the Gators were able to stall for the final four minutes of the contest and defeat the Buckeyes, 10-8.
Both goalies were incredible, as Meagher had seven saves and two ground balls on the afternoon and 2010 ALC Goalie of the Year Annie Carruthers had eight saves and a ground ball.
Florida finishes its nine-game homestand undefeated and taking a 10-game win streak to Happy Valley, as the Gators hit the road to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions in State College, Pa. on Saturday, April 2nd. Opening draw is set for 12:00 p.m. Saturday’s matchup will be broadcast on www.GatorZone.com.