By Jim Harvin/Correspondent
The Florida lacrosse team learned a valuable lesson Saturday against Stony Brook.
The No. 8 Gators fell behind 5-1 with 11:12 left to play in the first half, but closed out the opening 30 minutes with four straight goals to tie things at 5-all en route to defeating the third-ranked Seawolves, 12-10, before a Donald R. Dizney Stadium crowd of 474.
UF improves to 4-1 while Stony Brook falls to 2-1.
“That’s a huge win,” UF coach Amanda O’Leary said. “Credit Stony Brook. They’re a fantastic team.
“We knew it was going to be a battle, goal for goal. But I’m really proud of how the team came back from a 5-1 deficit. They never gave up.”
Shannon Kavanagh led UF with four goals and added an assist, while Grace Haus had three goals, Maggie Corbo added two and Brianna Harris, Kassidy Bresnahan and Emily Heller each added one.
Harris had a pair of assists while Bresnahan and Haus each added one to go with Kavanagh’s.
“It just shows how resilient we were,” Kavanagh said. “There was never a time that anyone was nervous on the field or anxious. We just kind of fought back, goal by goal, play by play, possession by possession.
“I think after we got that momentum going, everyone was a threat on the field and everyone felt the energy. We just kept rolling.”
Stony Brook scored twice in the opening five minutes before Kavanagh put UF on the board at the 21:24 mark of the first half.
Four minutes later, however, the Seawolves made it 3-1 on a goal by Ally Kennedy, then added another 90 seconds later by Taryn Ohlmiller to make it 4-1.
Ohlmiller added another with 11:12 left in the first half, and Florida was looking at a 5-1 deficit.
A couple of great saves by goalkeeper Sarah Reznick kept the score the same, and UF responded with three straight goals to pull within 5-4 and force a Stony Brook timeout with 7:13 on the clock.
Two minutes later, Kavanagh scored on a free position shot to tie things at 5-all, and that’s how the half ended.
The Seawolves retook the lead in the opening minute of the second half, but UF again answered three minutes later on a free position shot by Haus that tied things at 6-all.
The final 25 minutes were back-and-forth, with Florida taking an 8-6 lead on back-to-back Kavanagh goals 37 seconds apart.
Stony Brook tied things at 8 on goals by Ally Kennedy and Rayna Sabella, but Haus answered with another goal to put UF up, 9-8.
The Seawolves’ Sara Moeller tied it less than a minute later, but back-to-back free position shots by Kavanagh and Heller put UF up, 11-9, with 11:40 remaining.
A goal by Kennedy, her fourth of the game, trimmed UF’s lead to one.
But the Gators would shut the door on anymore scoring over the final 10 minutes and Harris netted Florida’s final goal with just 2:32 left.
Reznick was credited with 13 saves, 10 of them in the second half.
Next up, the Gators travel to face No. 16 Dartmouth on Tuesday.