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Wednesday, October 20, 2021

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Gators goalie Mikey Meagher got off to a slow start, but the

sophomore made key saves late, as No. 14 Florida held on for a

15-10 victory over Lehigh.

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the back of a career-high nine stops, including six saves in the

second half, Meagher helped the Gators dig out of an early

hole.

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After allowing two goals in the first minute, Meagher appeared

rattled. It was only the second time UF (4-1) had trailed in a game

this season, and her defense wasn’t helping her out.

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The Mountain Hawks (2-2) were able to slip behind the Gators’ last

line of defense on both early goals, leaving Meagher to deal with

one-on-one, unchallenged shots by Lehigh sophomore Megan Kelly.

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“We were just sleeping back there,” UF coach Amanda O’Leary said.

“Any time you go down two goals, that’s a little bit of a hole to

dig yourself out of.”

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Throwing off the goalie even further was the amount of stoppages in

the game. A total of 49 fouls were called, 25 on Lehigh and 24 on

Florida. Each time the whistle was blown, Meagher lost her

concentration.

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“I’m seeing the shot, getting ready for it and then all of the

sudden it just stops and you have to refocus again,” she said. “I

think that was the challenge for me today, to see how many times I

could do that.”

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Even with the early deficit, the Gators were able to battle back

and escape the first half with a 5-5 tie after sophomore Brittany

Dashiell scored one of her two goals with 36 seconds left. O’Leary

said she was thrilled with the way her team got out of the first

half, and was just looking for a spark to start the last

period.

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After a relatively quiet first half with only one shot on goal,

sophomore Kitty Cullen came alive in the second half. The nation’s

leading scorer put in three goals in under four minutes to start

the half, taking the pressure off Meagher and Florida’s

defense. 

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“Little bit of a slow start, but it kind of hit the point where it

was going to keep going that way or we had to turn it on fast,”

Meagher said.

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The Gators scored seven additional goals to end the game even after

Lehigh pulled their starting goalie and began face-guarding

Cullen.  Meagher also played a strong second half, allowing the

Mountain Hawks to convert only 38 percent of their shots.

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“We’ve been working real hard all week, but it was just one of

those days where we got off to a slow start,” Meagher said.

“Hopefully we learn from it.”

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