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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

On

Sunday, the Gators finished their regular season much like they

started it — with a deflating loss on the road.

But

instead of falling to a top-5 team in overtime, No. 2 Florida

(14-2, 5-0 American Lacrosse Conference) was upset by an unranked

Cornell (6-8, 3-4 Ivy league) squad that dominated from start to

finish, leading to a 9-6 loss.

From the opening draw, the Big Red showed they weren't intimidated

by the highly touted Gators and quickly grabbed a 6-2 lead.

Cornell's sixth goal was scored on a last second free position shot

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to end the first half.

"Cornell definitely had a really high intensity, but again, I'm

just going to base it off of the things we can fix for next game,"

sophomore Ashley Bruns said. "We came out flat, but I think we

could've picked up our intensity just like Cornell did."

As

the downtrodden Gators made their way out of the locker room to

start the second, the brass section of Cornell's band goaded the

visitors by playing Florida State's distinct Seminole War

Chant.

Florida failed to respond to the brazen challenge as Cornell

attackers Jesse Steinberg and Caroline Salisbury took over the game

offensively with two hat tricks (six goals) on 16 shots. Meanwhile,

the Gators managed just 20 shots on the game, their fewest total

this season.

"I

don't know if you can pinpoint one or two things, but I think

ultimately, when you come out against a team that was as inspired

as Cornell and you don't bring your best game, these losses they

can happen," UF coach Amanda O'Leary said.

Also limited for the second game in a row was Tewaaraton nominee

Kitty Cullen, who has scored just once in her last two games after

averaging 4.25 goals through her first 15 contests.

The

only spark to the offense came from sophomore Janine Hillier's

three goals. The rest of the Gators shot a paltry 3-17.

"It

depends on the day I feel like with the offense," Hillier said.

"Some teams either bring it or they don't - we didn't. I just think

it took us a little bit to get fired up for the game."

Consistent work at the draw control (11 UF draws to CU's five) was

a welcome sight for Florida after losing the faceoff battle in four

of its last five games. However, whatever possession advantage the

Gators garnered from the restarts was ultimately negated in the

both halves by a slew of giveaways (15 turnovers, five failed

clears).

"I

think it was just not smart decision making on everyone's part. We

were getting a little flustered some of the times bringing the ball

down," Bruns, who had two turnovers, said. "We made some errant

passes and dropped some balls. Pretty much our fundamentals were a

little off."

The

loss snaps a 15-game winning streak for Florida on the eve of its

opening ALC Tournament game later this week. The Gators will face

the winner of No. 18 Ohio State and No. 17 Vanderbilt.

Adding to the disappointment for O'Leary was the likelihood that

the second-ranked Gators would've vaulted to their first No. 1

ranking had they'd beaten Cornell. Top-ranked Maryland suffered its

first loss of the season Sunday, falling to No. 14 Dartmouth.

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