Players like Shannon Gilroy are like unicorns —you always hear about them, but you don’t know if they actually exist.
The Tewaaraton Award finalist has proven time after time just what she’s capable of, but it wasn’t until she played against the overmatched and inexperienced Stetson defense that she broke her already lofty career highs.
In Florida’s (11-2, 2-0 American Lacrosse Conference) 23-1 win at Stetson (0-12) Gilroy — the newly crowned ALC Player of the Week — took control of the offense and led it out of the slow and sleepy play that it's become accustomed to in the team's last three contests.
Coach Amanda O’Leary said the team’s speed on offense against Stetson was the best it had been since Dartmouth on March 18.
“We asked them tonight to speed up the offense,” O’Leary said. “I thought they executed that really well. I thought we had a lot more movement in the midfield, I thought our attackers moved with a lot of speed. I was just really, really pleased with our offense.”
Florida’s quick start on the offense gave starters like Gilroy a break and allowed younger and less-experienced players the chance to see some playing time.
Even with limited minutes on the field, Gilroy’s dominating presence still fueled Florida’s offense, which had a season-high of 13 scorers, six of whom were freshmen.
“It was like a flawless transition from our starters to the people coming in,” O’Leary said. “It was everything we wanted and they did everything we asked.”
Gilroy tied her career high points (8) and notched 60 goals for the season, putting her eight ahead of her 2013 season total of 52.
However, the junior midfielder wasn’t just productive on scoring, she also managed three draw controls, one ground ball and two caused turnovers in limited playing time.
At Ohio State on Saturday, Gilroy had a hard time producing for the offense, managing only four points and five draw controls, but she was useful in getting the offense moving when momentum wasn’t there.
Tonight was a whole different story.
“Obviously the numbers speak for themselves,” O’Leary said. “She did a fantastic job on the draw circle and then obviously on finishing her shots. I was really pleased with her effort.”
Follow Eden Otero on Twitter @edenotero_l
Shannon Gilroy breaks away from a group of defenders during Florida’s 21-5 win against Jacksonville on Feb. 12 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.