UF-Syracuse rematch different


Florida head coach Amanda O'Leary will lead the Gators into the final four Friday against Syracuse in Stony Brook, N.Y. Juniors Sam Farrell (15) and Emily Dohony look on during a 15-2 win against Penn State over the weekend.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, May 21, 2012 at 11:51 p.m.

Florida will at least have some familiarity with its opponent in the NCAA women's lacrosse semifinals.

Facts

Gators in final four

Who: UF (19-2) vs. Syracuse (18-3)
When: Friday, 5:30 p.m.
Where: Stony Brook University (N.Y.)
On air: ESPN3

But Florida coach Amanda O'Leary said Monday she doesn't expect that to factor into the outcome when the top-seeded Gators face Syracuse on Friday in Stony Brook, N.Y.

“The teams have changed incredibly,” O'Leary said in a conference call. “I had the opportunity to watch their (quarterfinal) game against North Carolina and I mean, they refuse to lose. They find a way to win.”

Florida (19-2) suffered its lone home loss of the season against Syracuse, a 12-11 overtime decision to the Orange on March 5. The Gators have won 15 straight since to reach the final four for the first time in the program's brief three-year history.

“We're preparing for a much more experienced and confident Florida team,” Syracuse coach Gary Gait said. “They're balanced top to bottom, good defense, middies, attack so they are a solid team.”

Likewise, O'Leary is concerned for the problems that Syracuse presents.

“They are just really aggressive and scrappy and they are going to fight for every groundball,” O'Leary said. “We just need to match up their intensity because I watch them dominate game in and game out on the draw. They just find a way to get the ball in their stick and then give them one step and they are off on the fast break. We just need to really prepare for that.”

Florida won nearly every statistical category but the score in its loss to Syracuse. The Gators outshot Syracuse 39-26, had more ground balls (15-12) and won more draw controls (15-12).

“Syracuse came out with an excellent gameplan,” O'Leary said. “They kept us on our heels effectively. They had across the board just a fantastic game and it doesn't matter whether you win all the categories. The only one that matters is the final score, and they certainly beat us.”

O'Leary said the loss forced the Gators to make adjustments both offensively and defensively, which helped spark their winning streak.

“If you could have a good loss, it was a good loss for us because we had recently lost to North Carolina,” O'Leary said. “I think we had to sort of change the mindset and I think we were able to accomplish that.”

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