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Thursday, June 13, 2024
<p class="p1">Senior attacker Kitty Cullen looks to score against UAlbany on Feb. 24 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Cullen scored two goals in her final game for the Gators.</p>

Senior attacker Kitty Cullen looks to score against UAlbany on Feb. 24 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Cullen scored two goals in her final game for the Gators.

Florida did not leave Happy Valley, Pa., with a smile on Saturday afternoon.

Once the Gators have taken a lead, they have not allowed their opponents to get back into the game in all thirteen prior contests. On Saturday, the Florida allowed the lead to slip away twice.

With 19:14 left in the second half, Penn State capped off a three-goal run to tie the game 10-10. Forty-five seconds later, the Nittany Lions made it four goals, extending the lead to 11-10.

Florida coach Amanda O’Leary responded with a timeout to calm her team down. This was the latest in a game that Florida has trailed this season.

Out of the timeout, Penn State won the draw control, which was one of nine draw controls it had in the second half. Florida had two in that same span.

“We definitely got dominated in that center circle,” O’Leary said, “And that made all the difference in the world.”

With 18 minutes left in the game, Penn State started to use the stalling tactic to wind the time down. The Nittany Lions waited 8 minutes before they took a shot that was saved.

“It's definitely frustrating to watch them hold the ball,” senior Gabi Wiegand said, “But you have to have confidence that your other teammates on the field will get the ball back.”

Florida had the ball and an opportunity to tie it but turned it over after two minutes.

That’s when it all snowballed for the Gators.

The Lions scored two more goals to make it a six-goal run.

O’Leary decided to take senior goalie Mikey Meagher out of the game to have an extra defender try to force a turnover.

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“We had no choice but to pull Mikey,” O’Leary said.

It did not help the Gators in the end.

No. 2 Florida (13-1, 1-1 American Lacrosse Conference) suffered its first loss of the season Saturday, losing 16-11 to No. 10/9 Penn State (6-3, 1-0 ALC). This was the Gators first American Lacrosse Conference loss since May 7, 2010, and their first loss to Penn State in their program’s history after winning all four prior games.

The Gators were leading in every statistical category at halftime with a 9-6 lead. In the second half, the Lions outplayed the Gators.

Wiinning the draw controls 9-2, Penn State dominated the possession in the second half. The Lions launched 17 shots to the Gators’ three was a direct result from dominating the possession arrow.

“Collectively as an offense, we didn't generate enough shots,” said Wiegand, who scored three goals in the game. “Yes, I might have had a good day on offense, but at the end of the day, we didn't put up more points than them.”

O’Leary said, though, that she was pleased with the offense’s performance. To her, the offense did what it could with the amount of possessions it got.

The defense was a different story.

“We totally shut down defensively,” O’Leary said. “It wasn't a good defensive day for us at all.”

"We need to come ready to play each and everyday, and unfortunately, I don't think we showed up today like we should have. Obviously, nobody likes to lose and nobody wants to lose, but I think we can learn from this and move forward.”

Senior attacker Kitty Cullen looks to score against UAlbany on Feb. 24 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Cullen scored two goals in her final game for the Gators.

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