Florida has shown how difficult being undefeated truly is. The Gators have finished undefeated in American Lacrosse Conference play only once — in 2012.
For No. 4 Florida, being undefeated in the ALC means every team it faces until the end of the conference tournament will give the Gators its best effort. But with players like junior Shannon Gilroy and sophomore Sam Darcangelo, Florida becomes Goliath to every other team’s David.
Saturday, Florida (12-2, 3-0 ALC) will travel to No. 9 Johns Hopkins (10-1, 1-1 ALC) to face yet another ALC competitor.
Johns Hopkins most recent game against unranked Vanderbilt gave the team its first loss in 10 games. The squad was undefeated before battling it out in Nashville, Tenn.
Florida is currently first in ALC standings, but with three more ALC opponents, the Gators must play perfectly in their final games of the regular season if they want to stay undefeated in the conference.
Darcangelo is part of Florida’s formula for winning.
Darcangelo didn’t get much time on the field in her freshman year. Tallying only four points for the season and winning only 17 draw controls, Darcangelo’s freshman year looks dismal compared to her sophomore season.
This season, the Freeland, Md., native has started in all 14 games and has 27 points.
She has been instrumental on the draw with 36 controls — the second highest on the team behind Gilroy — and has won 22 ground balls.
The 2014 season has been Darcangelo’s year, and she gets better with each game.
Going into the game against the Blue Jays, coach Amanda O’Leary is working to prepare her players for in-game changes and adapting to the opposing teams.
However, as O’Leary always says, it’s about winning the draw and getting on offense, and Darcangelo has been more than helpful to this Florida team in doing that.
“Draw controls, ground balls, goals, she across the board played a phenomenal game [Sunday],” O’Leary said.
“We’ve seen that with Sam, day-in and day-out and it was one of those days where everything looked good for her. Her presence on the draw circle was just key.
“She did what she needed to do.”
Darcangelo has become like her teammates Gilroy and Nora Barry.
People know her name, and that’s because she has become a critical piece to the puzzle that is the Florida lacrosse team.
O’Leary is aware of how critical Darcangelo is and knows what a threat the midfielder poses to teams on the other end of the draw circle.
“I mean, I’m glad she’s on our team,” O’Leary said.
Follow Eden Otero on Twitter @edenotero_l
Sam Darcangelo prepares to shoot during Florida’s 18-7 win against High Point on Feb. 15, 2014 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.