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Saturday, May 25, 2024

Florida had Friday night’s game all but clinched prior to halftime.

Scoring 11 straight goals, No. 3 Florida (5-0) cruised to an easy 16-4 victory against the UC Davis Aggies (0-1).

But halftime was just the start for freshman Darcy Messina.

With more than a comfortable lead coming out of the locker room, coach Amanda O’Leary made the call to pull the entire starting lineup and insert bench players such as Messina.

The freshmen offered no hesitation to their new role.

“The seniors push us everyday, constantly motivating us, and so are the coaches as well,” Messina said. “So we had a good head on our shoulder, and we knew that we could handle it and had each other’s backs.”

The second-string players came out firing, outscoring UC Davis 5-4 in the second half.

Messina scored her first collegiate goal and added another later in the match, as well as an assist.

“It was an awesome feeling, and I’m just really proud of the attack,” Messina said. “…Goals were just falling.”

Even O’Leary took notice of Messina’s impressive play in her first whole half of work.

“I thought Darcy played really, really well,” O’Leary said. “She took advantage of the opportunities that she had.

“Being out there and playing is one thing, but being out there and competing and really playing really well was great to see.”

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The Gators will finish their three-game homestand Sunday against Albany, who they faced in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year, winning 6-4.

O’Leary said she was pleased with what she saw out of all of her players on Friday night and thinks the experience will help the team moving forward.

“They represented Florida lacrosse really well tonight,” O’Leary said.

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