No. 7 Florida’s (4-1) offense prevailed against a sleepy Cincinnati (0-2) defense after a three-and-a-half-hour rain delay at Donald R. Dizney Stadium to win 19-6 on Sunday.
In their last three games, the Gators have exploited bad defensive matchups, giving them opportunities to secure wins early in matches.
Florida’s victory against Cincinnati was no different.
Freshman Sammi Burgess and sophomore Devon Schneider combined for the first goal to open the scoring.
Florida’s movement on offense left its defense nearly jobless, as it has been in most of its games this season.
The defense has had only two real opportunities to compete on the field — the first time in a 20-8 loss to No. 1 North Carolina and the second in a 21-8 blowout win against James Madison.
Florida’s speed — exemplified by Burgess, junior Shannon Gilroy and sophomore Carly Ross — has been the key reason why the defense has had little to do on the field.
Cincinnati’s mismatched defense proved to be just one of the Bearcats’ many problems. Cincinnati came out playing man-to-man coverage against Florida but was unable to keep up with the offense that the Gators have worked to create this season.
Coach Amanda O’Leary said that the team’s quickness has been key in the offense’s smoothness, especially when players can outrun their defenders.
Overall, the offense beat Cincinnati everywhere it mattered, specifically on draw controls (22-5), shots (32-13) and ground balls (16-12).
It was sophomore Sam Darcangelo’s day to shine. The midfielder was one of the many offensive players for Florida that was able to outrun the Bearcats defense.
Darcangelo posted a career high of four points and had four draw controls. While the Freeland, Md., native has been solid for UF on the draw circle, picking up a season total of six ground balls and nine draw controls, she quickly became the Bearcats defense’s worst nightmare as she took shot after shot against it.
“I just felt like I could see the ball,” Darcangelo said. “It felt easier for me to see it today than usual.”
However, Florida’s offense wasn’t perfect.
The Gators played well in all aspects of the game, with the exception of one. Florida found itself turning the ball over eight times in the first half and three times in the second.
“I think those turnovers are things we’ve been working on day in and day out,” O’Leary said.
“It’s just being smart and for us it’s taking good opportunities offensively as well as coming up defensively when the ball is on the ground.”
Follow Eden Otero on Twitter @edenotero_l
Sammi Burgess (2) drives toward the net during Florida’s 21-5 win against Jacksonville on Feb. 12 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Burgess scored three goals in UF’s win against Cincinnati on Sunday.