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Sunday February 19, 2012Gators Brave the Cold, Earn First Road Win at UMBC, 18-6

Baltimore, Md.

The No. 4 University of Florida lacrosse team pulled out its first road victory of the season, defeating UMBC, 18-6, in the Retrievers’ season opener. The win lifts the Gators to 2-1 on the year.

Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) led the Gators with six points in the game, scoring four goals and two assists, while Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.) and Nicole Graziano (Mendham, N.J.) each recorded five points. Graziano scored the first five goals of her career, and Bruns tied a personal best with four assists.

Gabi Wiegand (Bay Shore, N.Y.) recorded three goals and an assist, and Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) notched two goals and an assist. Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) pitched in two goals, and freshman Shannon Gilroy (Huntington, N.Y.) scored her first points as a Gator, registering a goal and an assist.

Jamie Reeg (Atlantis, Fla.) led the Gators on defense, recording three ground balls, and Nora Barry (Marcellus, N.Y.) chipped in two. Gilroy was tops on the team with four draw controls, while Nicole Graziano added another three.

The two teams were even on the ground game, tying with 13 draw controls apiece and UMBC narrowly led UF, 12-11 in ground balls. However Florida led greatly in turnovers, losing the ball just five times as opposed to the Retrievers’ 14.

Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y) played the first 47:50 in goal, making seven saves while allowing five goals. Cara Canington (Bel Air, Md.) made a save and gave up one goal in the final 12:10.

The Gators won the opening draw, but a quick turnover brought the ball down to the Retrievers’ end of the field. UMBC took its time and eventually drove to the goal, but Mikey Meagher came up with the save. However, the Gators were unable to get the ball out of their defensive zone, as UMBC’s Taelar Errington scooped up the turnover and flipped it to Emily Coady for the first goal of the game at 26:18.

The Gators did not trail for long, as Brittany Dashiell scored on a free position shot at 23:13 to even the score at one. Ashley Bruns gave UF its first lead of the game just over a minute later, scoring on a pass from Gabi Wiegand to put the Gators ahead, 2-1.

Wiegand kept the Gators rolling at 18:05, roping in a Dashiell pass for the Gators’ third goal of the game.

Kitty Cullen continued the Gators’ scoring streak, notching back-to-back goals at 14:31 and 10:51, to put Florida ahead, 5-1.

At 8:40, Cullen flipped a short pass to Dashiell on the right side of the arc, who tallied the Gators’ sixth straight score.

Cullen’s point streak continued at 6:30, as she found freshman Nicole Graziano on the left side for her first career Gator goal.

Retriever Abby Wilson halted the Gators’ scoring streak at seven, scoring off a foul just outside the arc at 4:48.

The Retrievers’ fans did not have long to celebrate, as Cullen gave one back to the Gators just 34 seconds later, netting an unassisted score at 4:14.

Coady got one back for UMBC shortly before the half, assisted by Wilson, as the Gators headed into the locker room with an 8-3 lead.

The Gators opened the second half on a man-up opportunity due to a yellow card given to Alicia Krause just before the break. Ashley Bruns won the opening draw and drove straight into Retriever territory. Bruns shoveled it to Wiegand, who bounced it in just 12 seconds after the opening whistle.

Abby Wilson notched her second career goal at 28:05, but a second yellow card to Krause put the Gators back on a man-up advantage, which sparked a 4-0 run by UF.

The scoring spree began with a man-up goal by Caroline Chesterman from Bruns at 26:01. Graziano scored her second career goal at 24:38 on a free position shot, and Cullen then scored the Gators’ first-ever man-down goal at 23:08. Wiegand and Bruns connected for a third time at 21:43 to give the Gators a nine-goal lead, up 13-4.

Lindsay Cox scored one for UMBC at 20:52, assisted by Shannon Harkey, but Graziano fought right back on a free position goal at 18:46.

Just over a minute later, Bruns fed Chesterman for her career-high-tying fourth assist.

Cara Canington replaced Meagher in goal at 12:10, and less than a minute later, Graziano notched her fourth goal of the contest.

Coady knocked in her third goal at 7:27, but at 4:42, freshman Shannon Gilroy scored her first career goal for the Orange and Blue. Just under four minutes later, Gilroy picked up her first assist, tossing to Graziano with 54 seconds to play, rendering the final score, 18-6.

The Gators return home next Friday, as they host Siena in a non-conference matchup at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Opening draw is set for 6:30 p.m.

 

 

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