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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

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After finishing the

regular season with an upset loss, the No. 4 Gators lacrosse team

(14-2, 5-0 American Lacrosse Conference) looks to get back on track

at 3 p.m. on Friday with an ALC Tournament semifinal matchup

against No. 18 Ohio State in Nashville, Tenn.

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Will a week filled with conference awards translate into

wins? Top-seeded

Florida led the ALC with eight conference awards earlier this week,

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including top honors for midfielder Kitty Cullen and coach Amanda

O'Leary as Player and Coach of the Year. The accolades come after

two of the Gators' worst performances of the season - a last second

escape at Vanderbilt and a 9-6 loss to Cornell last Sunday in which

Florida had a season-high 15 turnovers. "When we make a mistake, we

need to getter better from it rather than just letting it pile up,"

junior Caroline Cochran said. "Obviously, it didn't end up the best

way for us."

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Can Cullen spark the Gators offensively?

With Cullen limited over last

two weeks with a knee injury, the offense has been held to single

digits in back-to-back games for the first time this season. "I'm

hoping that this weekend I'm going to be 100 percent...it's kind of

frustrating, but hopefully, I'll be able to come out hard," Cullen

said. The sophomore averages over four goals a game for the Gators

but has been held to just one score over the last two.

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Is it Florida's turn to come out fired up? Against

lesser opponents, Cullen said the Gators have played down to their

competition. Recently, it's come back to haunt Florida with

Vanderbilt and Cornell playing inspired lacrosse on its respective

Senior Days. The loss of focus broke the Gators' 14-game winning

streak and ended a potential chance to claim the No. 1 spot in the

nation heading into the tournament. "I definitely think it will

light a bit of a fire and make us work that much harder this

weekend just to show people that it was a mistake," Cullen

said.

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