Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
We inform. You decide.
Wednesday, April 24, 2024
<p>After giving up two easy goals at UNC, junior defender Sam Farrell said the Gators have made defensive adjustments in an effort to improve transition play.</p>

After giving up two easy goals at UNC, junior defender Sam Farrell said the Gators have made defensive adjustments in an effort to improve transition play.

The Gators had their most prolific two-game offensive stretch ever last weekend.

Surprisingly, they gave the defense some of the credit.

After a season-opening loss at North Carolina in which Florida went on 25-minute scoreless streak, coach Amanda O’Leary said one of the reasons for the offensive struggles was the defense’s inability to get the ball to the attackers in transition.

Since the loss, the No. 4 Gators have won four straight games, and in their last two wins against Siena and Detroit they scored a combined 45 goals, the most over the course of two games in the three-year history of the Florida lacrosse program.

O’Leary said that the team’s effectiveness in transition last weekend was the result of the defense and offense being on the same page.

“Our defenders weren’t having to run the ball 30, 50 yards,” O’Leary said. “They were able to find (the attackers and midfielders) in transition.”

On Friday against Siena, Florida benefited from effective ball movement that started on the defensive end of the field.

Less than two minutes into the game, junior defender Sam Farrell controlled a ground ball and completed a short pass to freshman midfielder Sally Jentis, who took the ball from inside the UF restraining line to the other end of the field. Once Jentis got to the 12-meter fan, she passed it to junior attacker Kitty Cullen, who scored the first of the Gators’ team-record 23 goals in the game.

O’Leary said part of the responsibility falls on the attackers to make the proper cuts back to the defensive end to get open. But she also said it is the job of the defenders to evade the opposition’s attackers before passing it rather than trying to force a pass when they do not have space, as two of the goals surrendered in the loss to UNC were the result of turnovers by UF defenders.

“It’s all about confidence,” Farrell said. “We’re all really fast in the defensive end, and so we just need to be confident with carrying the ball. I think a lot of the times we were scared to defeat the defender in front of us and we’d just throw the ball away.”

Junior attacker Gabi Wiegand agreed with O’Leary in that her and the rest of the offense must cut back at the right time to receive passes out of the defensive end. Wiegand said the Gators work on their timing in practice by running drills in which an attacker and defender line up at their usual spots  and the defender has to get the ball to the attacker at a specific spot on the field.

Jamie Reeg, a junior defender, said that good transition ball movement relies primarily on quick passing.

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Alligator delivered to your inbox

“It’s important to move the ball fast through the midfield because the ball travels faster than we do,” Reeg said. “Once you pass it up the field, it’s easy to get a fast break and catch the other team off guard.”

Florida hosts Syracuse on Saturday, and O’Leary said transition ball movement will be even more important against a team like the Orange.

“They’re very aggressive offensively,” O’Leary said. “They’re going to be playing our defenders really, really tightly, so it’s going to be up to our defenders to be able to find those attackers in transition.”

After giving up two easy goals at UNC, junior defender Sam Farrell said the Gators have made defensive adjustments in an effort to improve transition play.

Support your local paper
Donate Today
The Independent Florida Alligator has been independent of the university since 1971, your donation today could help #SaveStudentNewsrooms. Please consider giving today.

Powered by SNworks Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2024 The Independent Florida Alligator and Campus Communications, Inc.