Tuesday March 12, 2013No. 2 Florida Lacrosse Uses Team Effort to Breeze Past Lehigh, 18-2
The second-ranked Gator lacrosse team scored 15 unanswered goals en route to their 10th victory of the season with a 18-2 win over Lehigh Tuesday evening at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. The win marked the second-lowest opponent total, second-lowest opponent saves and tied for most opponent turnovers in program history.
Rattling off 15 unanswered goals, the Gators (10-0) used a 14-0 advantage at halftime to cruise comfortably to a win over the Mountain Hawks (2-4). The Orange and Blue not only marked their highest-point scoring effort of the season, they also contributed a season-high eight assists in the contest. Senior attack Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) recorded a team-high two assists in the win.
“I’m just really proud of the team because this was a total team effort,” Head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “Defensively we played very well and I thought Mary-Sean (Wilcox) came in the second half and held solid in the goal cage very well and our defensive as a whole did an outstanding job.”
Five Gators scored three points each as sophomore midfielder Nora Barry (Marcellus, N.Y.) led the team with three goals. Senior attack Gabi Wiegand (Bay Shore, N.Y.), sophomore midfielder Nicole Graziano (Mendham, N.J.) both scored a goal and dished out two assists while freshman attack Lauren Lea (Elkridge, Md.) and senior attack Erin Graziano (Mendham, N.J.) each scored a season-high two goals and one assist.
In all, 12 Gators scored on the evening and a slew of new faces saw significant playing time with four freshman - Angela Flister (Eldersburg, Md), Devon Schneider (Lititz, Pa.) , Beth Willertz (Severn, Md.) and Carly Ross (Freeland, Md.) - scoring their first career goals in the win.
“It was fun to see new faces out there and our freshman competed really hard,” O’Leary said. “It’s huge to get them in because they’re the future, and we’ve been able to see them play quite a bit and tonight they were really dominant.”
Wiegand got things started for the Orange and Blue less than three minutes into the contest on a Shannon Gilroy (Northport, N.Y.) assist. UF went on to score their next six goals in four minutes and 20 seconds, building a 7-0 lead.
UF shined on the defensive end as well, forcing a program-high 20 turnovers in the effort and also recording 10 caused turnovers. Freshman midfielder Sam Darcangelo (Freeland, Md.) led the Gators with four ground balls, three draw controls and three caused turnovers. Sophomore defender Mikki Offit (Bethesda, Md.) and senior defender Kayla Stolins (Glen Arm, Md.) each recorded two caused turnovers.
Lehigh scored their lone goals of the night in the second half, with goals from Carli Sukonik at the 25 minute mark and Megan Paytas with 12:10 left to play in the game. Freshman scored three of the four goals in the second half for the Gators.
Erin Graziano opened the second half with her career-high second goal while Willertz, Schneider and Flister all scored to cushion the Gators lead in the final period.
Florida also controlled the draw winning 13-9 and ground balls 25-13. Freshman defender Kelsey Hart (North Babylon, N.Y.), Gilroy and Stolins all chipped in two draw controls while Mary-Sean Wilcox (Lutherville, Md.) and freshman attack Darcy Messina (Sayville, N.Y.) each grabbed three ground balls. Goalies senior Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.) and Wilcox combined for four saves on six shots on goal.
The Gators are back in action as they travel to the west coast for a matchup with Oregon in Eugene, Ore. on Saturday. Opening draw is set for 4 p.m. EST and can be heard live on ESPN 850/900 in Gainesville and on GatorZone.com with Cory Stephens. In addition, the Pac 12 will stream the game live via its video streaming service.
For all of the latest information on Florida lacrosse, please log on to www.GatorZone.com/lacrosse or, for up-to-the-minute updates, follow Florida lacrosse on Twitter at @GatorZoneLAX or www.twitter.com/GatorZoneLAX. You can also find the Gators on Facebook.