The final 10 minutes of a game can contain more pressure than the first 50 minutes combined for a goalkeeper.
Having a solid goalkeeper who can make big saves and close the game with a win is the biggest key in those closing moments.
For No. 5 Florida (9-2, 1-0 American Lacrosse Conference), sophomore goalkeeper Mary-Sean Wilcox often fills that position.
In 2013, Wilcox made 11 appearances in the cage during her freshman year and played 176 minutes. This season, Wilcox has made 10 appearances with one start and has recorded 246 minutes. She has one win this season and a .500 save-rate for shots on goal.
The Lutherville, Md., native may not be starting this season, but she has been a big player in making game-saving stops.
In Florida’s matchup against Dartmouth on Tuesday, Wilcox made four saves on five shots in 19:45 of play.
Coach Amanda O’Leary said the goalkeeper’s big saves in the last 10 minutes of play was indicative of how Wilcox practices.
“It’s funny because we see her do that every day,” O’Leary said. “It’s fun to watch her play. She’s very athletic. She sees the ball very well.
“She’s very composed back there; she doesn’t get flustered… Just point-blank saves.”
The sophomore relieved redshirt senior Cara Canington after she allowed three goals in less than two minutes, putting Dartmouth within two points of tying the game.
Wilcox’s solidity in the cage has proven to be a confidence builder for Florida’s still-growing defense.
“Sometimes, defense, like in all teams, you go into a slump and just little change-ups really carry a lot of momentum for our team it seems like, and everyone just starts picking up there game,” Wilcox said.
Against Dartmouth, Wilcox notched a career-high save percentage of .800. She recorded a .714 against No. 3 Syracuse on Saturday.
Going into the game against No. 20 Ohio State (6-3), Wilcox looks to continue to support her team in the closing moments of the matchup.
“Since it’s a home game for them, they’re going to come out with a good fight,” she said. “so we just have to be ready to play tough.”
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Mary-Sean Wilcox defends a shotduring UF’s win against Cincinnati on Feb. 23 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.