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Monday, January 30, 2023
<p>Nora Barry runs toward the net during Florida's loss to North Carolina.</p>

Nora Barry runs toward the net during Florida's loss to North Carolina.

Florida lacrosse showed no love to Michigan on their Valentine’s Day matchup.

After a fierce offensive frenzy in the opening minutes, the No. 4 Gators (2-1) defeated the Wolverines (0-1) 21-0 on Saturday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

It was the second shutout in program history, the last one being a 29-0 win over Fresno State in 2012.

Florida’s performance can most clearly be described as an offensive blitzkrieg with a defense comparable to that of the Steel Curtain of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers. The shot total was 32-11 in favor of Florida, which also boasted a 16-11 advantage in draw controls.

Simply put, the Gators dominated from start to finish – the first goal coming 22 seconds into the game by redshirt junior Nicole Graziano. Altogether, Florida had 12 different goal scorers, three of whom recorded hat tricks.

Senior Nora Barry scored her 99th, 100th and 101st goals as a Gator, becoming just the fifth player in Florida history to reach the 100-goal milestone.

Sophomore Sammi Burgess and freshman Bella O’Connor also scored three goals each. For O’Connor, they were her first three goals as a Gator.

“When I scored, I was kind of shocked at first,” O’Connor said. “I just like dropped my stick and just kind of stood there, but it was awesome. It was the best feeling in the world.”

In such a lopsided victory, it was a chance for freshmen like O’Connor and Allie Pavinelli to show what they are capable of. Pavinelli filled the stat sheet with one goal, two assists, two ground balls and two draw controls.

“I was really, really impressed with our freshmen,” coach Amanda O’Leary said. “I thought Allie Pavinelli and Shayna Pirreca and Bella O’Connor, they’re three names who are gonna be the future of Florida lacrosse and I thought they showed really, really well today.”

It seems almost wrong to recap a Florida win without mentioning senior Shannon Gilroy. Gilroy, who has been fighting illness and missed practice on Friday, started the game and had a team-high six draw controls but did not score for the first time in 19 games. Fortunately, for the Gators, her supporting cast was capable of making up for her absence.

Shutouts are nothing to be overlooked, and O’Leary was quick to give credit to her goalkeepers. Junior Mary-Sean Wilcox officially earned the win, but freshman Olivia Cole played the entire second half and both players had four saves each.

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“I think that defensive-wise, it was just important to be ready every time,” Wilcox said. “I think that Michigan wanted to score throughout the entire game, and just try and stay consistent on our play and be ready for them.”

Follow Alex Maminakis on Twitter @alexmaminakis

Nora Barry runs toward the net during Florida's loss to North Carolina.

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