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Thursday, February 02, 2023

It was an important year for Florida.

Bringing in one of the largest and best recruiting classes in the country, an 18-3 season and a fourth straight NCAA Quarterfinals appearance, the Gators couldn’t have asked for a better start to what many have called Florida’s rebuilding year.

Coach Amanda O’Leary said all season that Florida’s success fell into the hands of players like Shannon Gilroy, Nora Barry and Krista Grabher. But if you asked anyone on the Florida roster, it all came down to O’Leary’s coaching.

On Friday, O’Leary was named the Inside Lacrosse Women’s Coach of the Year.

The award came after O’Leary helped lead Florida to its fourth consecutive American Lacrosse Conference regular title, second ALC tournament title and fourth trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals in just five seasons.

The fifth-year coach has earned the honor of IL Women’s Coach of the Year in three separate seasons. O’Leary first won the award in 2011 when she led the Gators to their first ever NCAA Quarterfinals appearance.

In 2013, O’Leary was awarded the honor once again after the senior-laden Florida squad made yet another quarterfinals appearance.

Five of O’Leary’s players were also honored by Inside Lacrosse.

Freshmen Caroline Fitzgerald, Sammi Burgess, Taylor Bresnahan and Mollie Stevens were named to the IL Women All-Rookie team.

But it’s been Gilroy who has racked up all the awards during the postseason. Gilroy has been named to the IL Women’s team and a Lacrosse Magazine All-American.

She was also nominated for a Tewaaraton Award for the 2014 season and was one of four finalists after she finshed the year with a single-season record in points (106) and goals (86).

At the end of the season after hanging on to a top-five spot in the Brine Media Poll and only losing to UNC and Syracuse in the regular season, Florida showed the lacrosse community that the team wasn’t rebuilding, just reloading.

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UF coach Amanda O’Leary calls a timeout during an exhibition game against Rollins College on Oct. 2, 2010 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Five Florida commits appeared in the 2014 Under Armour All-America game on Saturday in Towson, Md.

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