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Thursday, March 30, 2023

After two consecutive close games against ranked opponents, the Gators did not waste time putting the game out of reach on Saturday.

No. 5 Florida (6-2) tied a school record with 15 first-half goals as it defeated Temple (5-2) at Donald R. Dizney Stadium, 20-3.

The Gators held the Owls to just four shots in the first half and won 13 of the 17 draw controls.

“We were winning the draw and that’s really critical,” junior attacker Gabi Wiegand said. “We’re working on possessing the ball and making sure when have the write shot and taking out time with our shots. I think the attack did a really good job of seeing the cage and scoring.”

In its 12-9 win at Georgetown on Wednesday, Florida led by two at halftime but committed a season-high 12 first-half turnovers and had a scoring drought that lasted nearly 17 minutes.

UF benefitted in the first half on Saturday from playing a much cleaner game as they turned the ball over just five times. Junior midfielder Brittany Dashiell, who finished the game with three goals and an assist while controlling four draws, said the Gators looked for each other in transition, which helped limit mistakes.

“Everyone just worked for each other and tried to get open in the midfield so we could pass the ball up through the midfield and get it up on out attack,” Dashiell said.

At the 15:08 mark, Dashiell scored an unassisted goal to put Florida up 5-0, but Temple responded with a goal from attacker Keelin Hood just thirty seconds later.

However, the Gators never let the Owls build on the momentum as 37 seconds later, Dashiell scored the first of thirteen straight UF goals with an assist from junior attacker Kitty Cullen.

“We were finding a lot of opportunities through transition and communicating a lot better in the offensively end to get good high percentage shots,” said Gators assistant coach Erica LaGrow.

Wiegand, who scored a game-high four goals on six shots, said a lot of Florida’s success came in finding holes in Temple’s zone defense.

“Whether we are sticking someone inside the middle, or setting up one of our plays, someone was always open,” Wiegand said. “So we were able to hit the open girl.”

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