Wednesday March 28, 2012Gators Earn First-Ever Shutout in 29-0 Defeat of Fresno State
Freshmen Nicole Graziano (Mendham, N.J.), Nora Barry (Marcellus, N.Y.) and Taylor McCord (Jacksonville, Fla.) combined for 17 points this evening to lead the No. 4 Florida Gators to their highest goal total and first-ever shutout, defeating Fresno State, 29-0. With the win, Florida improves to 11-2 (1-0 ALC), while the Bulldogs fall to 2-5 (0-1 MPSF).
“It was really about people who haven’t needed to step up really needing to today, and I thought they did that,” said Head Coach Amanda O’Leary. “Obviously, Nicole Graziano did a great job. It was fun to see Nora play on the attacking end and only on the attacking end, but defensively I thought we played really well. I thought Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.) came up with some big ground balls in the first half to get us jump started in transition. I’m just really pleased overall.”
Nicole Graziano led the team with a career-high six goals and seven points and notched two ground balls and a team-best four draw controls. ALC Rookie of the Week Nora Barry scored five goals, four ground balls and two draw controls, and fellow-freshman Taylor McCord had a personal-best four goals and an assist. Gabi Wiegand (Bay Shore, N.Y.) also had five points, scoring three goals and two assists.
Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.) became the first Gator in school history to record 200 career points on a goal late in the first half, and finished the night with three goals and an assist. Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) hit the century mark in points tonight, ending with a goal and a team-leading three assists.
In addition to the usual suspects, defenders Jamie Reeg (Atlantis, Fla.), Sam Farrell (Millersville, Md.) and Kayla Stolins (Glen Arm, Md.) all found the back of the net in the game, and Reeg also added the final assist of the night.
“It was very exciting!” Farrell said after scoring her first goal since 2010. “I played midfield in high school and freshman year, so I had a few goals freshman year. I hadn’t had any shots until this game, so it was exciting.”
Erin Graziano (Mendham, N.J.) and Krista Grabher (Vero Beach, Fla.) scored the remaining two goals, and Grabher also put up two assists.
“I think it was definitely a huge team effort,” Nicole Graziano said. “Twenty-nine goals wasn’t all the offense. Sam got a goal, Kayla got a goal, and it was a total team effort. Having people who don’t normally score, score, setting a school record of 29 goals doesn’t happen every day. It was great team effort.”
On the defensive end, Emily Dohony (Parkton, Md.) and Nora Barry led the team with four ground balls, and Haydon Judge (Chestertown, Md.) and Mikey Meagher each had three. In addition to Graziano’s four draw controls, Reeg, Stolins and Grabher each had three. Meagher also caused a team-best three turnovers.
In the goal cage, Meagher and Canington each played a full shutout period, with Meagher making one save in the first half and Canington stopping two shots in the second.
“It was awesome,” Farrell said of earning a shutout. “We’ve never done that before, so it was really exciting. Our goalies played awesome. They saved some crucial shots, and even some attackers were down on defense. It was good giving them an opportunity to play, and they did really well, too.”
The Gators set several team records in the game, earning the most goals (29), most assists (12) most points (41), most draw controls (24) and tied their record for shots, outshooting the Bulldogs, 44-5. Florida was perfect through the midfield, going 12-for-12 on clears, and caused eight of the Bulldogs’ 16 turnovers, while losing the ball just seven times. The Gators also committed the fewest fouls ever, making just five.
UF tied its record with 17 points in the first half, then tied its second-half record with another 12. Florida scored the first 10 goals in the first 10 minutes, including three goals in the fifth minute of the game.
“That’s really cool,” said O’Leary in response to getting the shutout. “We had talked about it game upon game, when was it going to happen, and I thought it was so perfect tonight because Kayla I thought did a great job, Sam, Jamie, Haydon. Emily is always so competitive on that defensive end and having Sally Jentis (Ridgewood, N.Y.) jump in there as a new person and Mikki Offit (Bethesda, Md.). They moved into those positions flawlessly. I thought overall defensively it was one of our better efforts.”
The Gators hope to continue their seven-game winning streak into their next game, a conference matchup, on Sunday afternoon. Florida will take on No. 10 Penn State in ALC play at Dizney Stadium beginning at 1 p.m.