UF ATLETICS NOTEBOOK
Notebook: UF lacrosse still unbeaten
Published: Monday, March 18, 2013 at 7:25 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 18, 2013 at 7:25 p.m.
The No. 2 Florida lacrosse team maintained its perfect record last week with a pair of wins over Lehigh and Oregon, the latter on the road in the program's first venture to the West Coast.
UF (11-0) had no trouble with Lehigh at home, winning 18-2 last Tuesday while getting a lot of playing time for a number of young players.
The Gators capped the week Sunday by downing the Ducks, 13-5, in Eugene. Oregon (4-2) came in on a four-game winning streak and had a full week to prepare for UF.
“We had a really good week last week,” head coach Amanda O'Leary said. “Across the board, it was two solid wins for us.”
Next up are a pair of home matches beginning with Tuesday's game against Stetson at 6:30 p.m.
It will be “Beat Cancer With a Stick” night, with UF joining hands with the National Foundation for Cancer Research.
The Gators, the two-time defending American Lacrosse Conference regular-season champions, open ALC play by hosting Ohio State Saturday at 1 p.m.
“They are a younger team, however they're always tenacious,” O'Leary said. “They have a great offensive game plan and they have a solid goalie, so I think it's going to take our best effort to get out there and compete with them.”
After sweeping SEC East Division rivals Georgia and Tennessee last weekend at home, fourth-ranked UF will look for a repeat effort when the Gators take on SEC West foes Alabama and Auburn this weekend at Linder Stadium.
The Gators (11-2, 4-1) handed the No. 12 Bulldogs their first league loss, 4-1, Friday and then bounced the Lady Vols, 4-0, Sunday.
Now they'll try to knock off the unbeaten, No. 8 Crimson Tide (13-1, 5-0) and the surprising, 17th-ranked Tigers (14-2, 4-1) Friday and Sunday, respectively. Both matches start at 1 p.m.
Since losing 4-3 at No. 6 Texas A&M March 3, UF has won four straight while dropping only one point, that to Georgia in doubles.
“It was a fantastic weekend for us,” head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “The floor of our play has really gotten better, and the dips that I talked about a few weeks ago — the lull — is absolutely getting better, and that's very comforting for me.”
The second-ranked Gators completed their regular-season Saturday at Utah where the No. 7 Utes (10-2-1, 4-1-1 Pac 12) defeated UF (8-2, 6-1 SEC) by a 198.125-197.875 score before a Huntsman Coliseum crowd of 14,903.
Despite the loss, Florida's team score is the highest road mark in the nation this year, a feat that did not escape the attention of head coach Rhonda Faehn.
“It was a great meet,” Faehn said. “Our team, I really felt, accomplished what we wanted to accomplish there. Again, it was a very high-pressure situation with almost 15,000 Utah fans there, so that was great for our team because the environment there put our athletes under a lot of intensity, and I think they responded really well and were aggressive.”
Up next are the 2013 SEC Championships in North Little Rock, Ark., Saturday, where UF is the defending champ. The Gators are the No. 1 seed and will compete in the evening session at 7 p.m.
TRACK & FIELD
The men's and women's teams open their 2013 outdoor seasons this weekend as the Gators will send some athletes to Orlando for the UCF Black and Gold Challenge and a handful of others to Tallahassee for the FSU Relays.
The UF men were the three-time defending NCAA Indoor champs but finished second with 59 points behind Arkansas (74) this year, while the UF women placed 13th with 17 points.
“We had a very successful indoor season,” head coach Mike Holloway said. “On the men's side, we scored more points than we have ever scored in my 10 years as head coach. We just got beat by a better team, and that just gives us motivation to get outside and work harder and get better.
“As far as outdoor season goes, we're excited. We live and breathe outdoors every day. We don't train indoors, so we're definitely a better outdoor team on both sides.”
The UF men are the defending NCAA Outdoor champs, having won the program's first crown in 2012.
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