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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

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For the past two weeks, the Gators’ once vaunted offensive attack

has looked unrecognizable. On Saturday in the American Lacrosse

Conference Tournament, it simply looked unstoppable. 

Behind four goals each from sophomores Janine Hillier and Ashley

Bruns, as well as a hat trick from ALC Player of the Year Kitty

Cullen, No. 2 Florida (15-2, 5-0 ALC) advanced to its first ALC

Tournament final with a 16-13 win over No. 18 Ohio State (10-7, 2-3

ALC).

The

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Gators will face second-seeded Northwestern in the championship

game on Saturday afternoon at 1.

After being held to nine goals or less in consecutive games, the

Gators set the tone early in the semifinal matchup with a 5-0 run

in the first 10 minutes and a 10-6 lead at halftime.

“It

felt great — our offense was really clicking, which didn’t really

happen the last couple games,” midfielder Brittany Dashiell said.

“Every single person on offense was working their hardest.  We were

getting turnovers and every time they were losing the ball we’d

come back and score.”

Along with Dashiell’s two goals, seven different players found the

back of the net, helping the top-seeded Gators mark their highest

scoring output in eight games.

Also working in Florida’s favor was a dramatic reduction in

turnovers. In the Gators 9-6 upset loss to Cornell just last week,

UF’s attack was hamstringed by a season-high 15 giveaways. 

Against the Buckeyes, Florida dominated the turnover battle 13 to

5. 

“All week long in practice, our coaches have been making up drills

to improve on it, and you could definitely see it today with the

way we played,” Dashiell said.

Gators coach Amanda O’Leary said her team also improved its free

position shots. Florida converted 5 of 6 shots from the charity arc

after going 1 for 9 against the Cornell and Vanderbilt. 

“It’s definitely a boost to be able to go up to the eight-meter and

finally finish those shot,” Bruns said. “We’ve been working in

practice time and time again, even going out before and after

practice to work on them just so we can complete these shots.” 

The

offensive explosion couldn’t have come at a better time for

Florida, which will be pitted against No. 3 Northwestern (16-2, 3-2

ALC) in the finals. The Wildcats beat eight-loss Penn State by 11

goals to advance.

“I

think this just another chance to make us better as a team, and if

we come out with the big win, that’s going to be great, but it’s

also going to be a great win for our experience because

Northwestern is such an accomplished and great team,” Bruns

said.

In

their last meeting on April 14, the Gators defeated the Wildcats

13-11 in Gainesville.

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