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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

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Saturday at Penn State, it took Kitty Cullen only eight seconds

into the first half to answer whether the Gators were ready for

their first road game in 37 days.

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With one whip of her stick, the sophomore buried the quickest goal

in Florida’s brief history, helping lead a banner day for the No. 6

Gators in a 13-7 victory over the No. 16 Nittany Lions.

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“It’s really hard to put into words – Kitty’s performance,” UF

coach Amanda O’Leary said. “She just dominated the offense, her

shooting was spot on, she made very good decisions…really again,

just the fact of how many points she’s put on the board speaks for

itself.”

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Cullen, who leads the nation with 56 goals, would tack on five more

by halftime to tie her and Ashley Bruns’ Florida record of six

goals in one game.  The two have matched their shared mark six

times during their short careers, so it was only fitting both would

have a hand in the record-breaking goal. 

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After the Gators (11-1, 2-0 ALC) set up on their opening possession

of the second half, Bruns fed the ball inside the eight-meter arc

to Cullen who beat PSU (6-5, 1-1 American Lacrosse Conference)

goalie Dana Cahill to notch her school record seventh goal of the

game.

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“She [Bruns] really played well, she kept her head up and was able

to get a lot of really great feeds and we were able to have great

options off of the shots because of the way she was working the

ball,” Cullen said.

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The game wasn’t all a celebration for the Gators though, as

sophomore Brittany Dashiell (one assist) suffered a concussion with

less than 10 minutes left to play in the first half after colliding

with a Penn State player and falling to the turf. 

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O’Leary said the midfielder also had her chin cut in the process,

and that injury alone would’ve been enough to keep her out for the

remainder of the game.

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 “When Brittany went down, it was definitely scary because she is

one of our best players from defense to transition and offense –

she’s awesome…But then other people just realized, ‘Hey, this is my

time to step up,’ and everyone just started to step it up in the

second half,” Cullen said.

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The Gators responded for their fallen teammate, going on a 5-0 run,

breaking a 5-5 tie. The flurry of goals included three straight by

Cullen.

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Adding to the offensive surge in Dashiell’s stead were second half

goals from midfielders Colby Rhea, Janine Hillier, Caroline Cochron

and two from Caroline Chesterman. 

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“Penn State wasn’t ready for us to come out and play like that, as

a team together, and that was the best part about coming out today

was that we didn’t care about the distractions, we just played

together,” Bruns said.

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The win extended the Gators’ streak to 11 on the season (second

longest in the nation), including two in ALC play, which topples

Florida regular season and conference win total from all of last

season. 

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