James Madison has not been this embarrassed since the War of 1812.
The No. 7 Gators (3-1) took their third consecutive win of the season against the Dukes on Thursday night, winning 21-8.
However, it wasn’t without a fight.
Winning the first half 17-3 on draw controls and shooting 24 times, Florida came out in the second half as if it had already ensured its win, closing the first 30 minutes 16-3.
However, at the start of the second half, the Dukes came out looking to stop a running clock and to get the game back into their control. The team scored three consecutive goals in the first five minutes of the second half, threatening to overtake the Gators; Florida countered after JMU scored its three points, but the Gators managed to lose the draw-control battle after bringing the score 17-6.
But the Dukes’ 3-0 run didn’t change the outcome of the game.
In addition to JMU’s attempt to create momentum at the start of the second half, both teams got physical early in the first half.
The physicality caused James Madison’s Stephanie Finley to leave the game early after being hit in the face by a Florida player’s net.
She later returned to the game sporting a bandaged forehead.
Later, JMU’s Carter Reifsnider was given a yellow card after she knocked down junior Shannon Gilroy from behind with her net. She sat out until Florida scored 30 seconds later.
Juniors Gilroy and Nora Barry and sophomore Sam Darcangelo helped lead the Gators in their feat against the Dukes by beating JMU on draw controls, shots and clears.
Standing at 6-foot-2, sophomore Devon Schneider also aided in winning the draw controls Thursday. With the advantage of height on Schneider’s side she picked two of her draw controls from the air. Schneider also put three points on the board and was one of seven scorers for the Gators.
“It’s really important for me to come out here and play my hardest every time,” Schneider said about her job on draw controls. “Everyday at practice, we go hard. There’s always girls that want to be out here, so everybody’s fighting.”
Barry also had an outstanding night, breaking a career high with eight draw controls and two points. Barry contributed the record-breaking night to her team; however, coach Amanda O’Leary said that eight draw controls are natural for Barry.
“This is the Nora we know,” O’Leary said. “We see this everyday at practice, so it doesn’t come as a surprise to us watching this performance because this is what she does every day.”
The junior midfielder has progressively gotten better with each game of the season. She started out the season at No. 1 North Carolina with no points. Since UNC, she has almost doubled her draw controls and points with each game.
“We knew from scouting JMU at the ball that their draw person could really control it,” Barry Said.
“We knew where it was going.”
Freshman Sammi Burgess also had a solid night, putting up two points and two assists. Burgess is the most consistent player of all the freshmen on the team and has a combined total of nine points for the season and six assists.
Burgess said Tuesday that the Dukes defense would be the most challenging, aside from UNC, that the Gators had faced yet. Having played with some of the players that are on JMU’s defense, she said it would be tough.
“I think that we prepare so well the days before the game that we’re ready,” Burgess said.
“We know what we’re going to be dealing with and I think it really helps because we get out there and we’re composed.”
Follow Eden Otero on Twitter @edenotero_l
Nora Barry drives the ball toward the net during Florida’s 18-7 win against High Point on Feb. 15 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Barry scored the game-winning goal against Northwestern on Sunday to help the Gators clinch the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament title.