Florida wears down Denver after weather delays

Florida's Shannon Gilroy (8) scored three goals and had two assists in the Gators' 19-9 win over Denver in the NCAA tournament second round at Dizney Stadium on Sunday.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 9:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 11, 2014 at 9:57 p.m.

No. 4 seed Florida outlasted six-plus hours of weather delays to defeat Denver 19-9 in the second round of the NCAA tournament on Sunday.

Just 30 seconds into the game, sophomore Devon Schneider curled around the net and fired the first shot past Denver goalkeeper Hannah Hook.

The host Gators (18-2) quickly added two free-position goals in the next three minutes from junior Shannon Gilroy and sophomore Lauren Lea to lead 3-0 before play stopped for the first weather delay (52 minutes).

Denver's Christa Reese struck first after play resumed and the Pioneers (19-2) managed to cut Florida's lead to 4-3 with 19:51 remaining in the first half.

The Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champions would get no closer.

Florida stretched the lead to 8-4 before play stopped again with 8:38 left in the opening half.

After more than five hours of waiting, the Gators reeled off three straight goals and led 11-5 at the scheduled break.

“I was so proud of our team for reacting the way they did,” Florida coach Amanda O'Leary said. “After we came out of the rain delay, I really thought we turned it on and played the way we've played all season long.”

Gilroy, named a Tewaaraton Award finalist on Thursday given to the nation's top female college lacrosse player, leads the nation in goals scored (83) and surpassed the 100-point season mark with three goals and two assists.

“Shannon is Shannon and she's going to dictate the pace of the game off the draw,” O'Leary said. “We look to her to do that and I thought she came out strong and played a solid game.”

The lead swelled to 17-7 midway through the second half to trigger a running-clock finish.

Schneider had a career-high five goals for the Gators and Mollie Stevens added four. Goalkeeper Mary-Sean Wilcox had six saves on 13 shots faced.

Florida has defeated Denver at home each of the last three years in the second round. This is the fourth straight trip to the quarterfinals for Florida.

The Gators will take on No. 5 seed Northwestern, a team they have beaten twice this season, in the quarterfinals at Donald R. Dizney Stadium on Saturday at 2 p.m. No team has ever beat Northwestern three times in one year.

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