UF lacrosse prevails in home opener
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 8:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, February 21, 2013 at 12:26 a.m.
A scorching 10-1 run to open the game and some staunch second-half work by freshman goalkeeper Mary-Sean Wilcox were enough to propel No. 3 Florida to a 16-9 win over No. 18 Stony Brook on Wednesday in the Gators' home opener at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
“We hit a lull,” head coach Amanda O'Leary said. “I thought we started out really strong. I thought we came out and offensively everything was clicking. I thought defensively we gave up some quick goals, which is a little uncharacteristic of us. But other than that, hitting that lull, we have to fix that because we could find ourselves in a deep deficit if we go into that again.”
UF (4-0) opened the game with a rapid-fire attack and started the scoring early with senior midfielder Brittany Dashiell's free position goal in the game's first minute.
Sophomore Nora Barry and seniors Kitty Cullen, Ashley Bruns and Gabi Weigand followed with unassisted goals that staked UF to a 5-0 lead less than eight minutes into the game.
“We watched film on them, so we knew they were going to pressure out on us,” Dashiell said. “We went over our game plan in practice and I think we just really stuck to it well, and we had a great shooting percentage, which really helped.”
Stony Brook's Demmianne Cook got her team on the board with 21:04 left before halftime, but the Gators responded with another 5-0 run to go up 10-1 with 12:29 remaining.
But just when it looked like UF might be on its way to a rout, the Seawolves (1-1) came alive, scoring the last four goals of the half to go to the locker room trailing only 10-5.
“It felt a lot closer than 10-5,” O'Leary said.
Goals from senior Shannon Gilroy and Dashiell, sandwiched around another goal by Stony Brook's Cook, gave Florida a 12-6 lead four minutes into the second half, but again the Seawolves proved resilient, holding UF scoreless for more than nine minutes while closing to within 12-8 on a pair of free position goals by Amber Kupres and Janine Hiller, the latter a transfer from Florida.
With 19:37 still to play, O'Leary called a timeout and pulled senior goalie Mikey Meagher, inserting Wilcox, who had only played in one game for eight minutes.
Moments later, Stony Brook's Emily Mercer found an open lane through the middle of the UF defense with a chance to pull the Seawolves within three, but Wilcox blocked her shot.
Wilcox would go on to make four more saves, including stopping a couple of point-blank free position shots, blanking the Seawolves the rest of the way until allowing a meaningless goal to Stony Brook's Claire Petersen on a free position shot, her team-leading third goal of the game, with 21 seconds left to play.
By then, UF, which connected on 16-of-29 shots, had put four more goals up to seal the decision.
“Mary-Sean is just such a great option to have, and you saw why,” O'Leary said. “She can step in there, and for her to come into a game like this where the momentum was certainly not in our favor and make some huge saves says a lot about her. Our defense is really comfortable playing in front of her.”
Dashiell and Gilroy led the Gators with four goals apiece, while Cullen had three goals and a team-high two assists.
Wednesday's game was the first of a three-game homestand for UF, which takes on UC-Davis on Friday at 6:30 p.m. and Albany on Sunday at noon.
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