On a frigid night at Donald R. Dizney Stadium, Florida continued its recent trend of domination to win its third game in a row and move one Gator even closer to history.
No. 4 Florida (3-1) defeated San Diego State (0-1) 17-7 on Friday night in the first-ever matchup between the two programs. It was the third straight game that the Gators have scored at least 17 goals and held their opponents to under 10.
More impressively, until Catherine Ricciardulli scored the Aztecs’ first goal in the 12th minute of the first half, Florida had not allowed a goal for 72 minutes and eight seconds, spanning over three games.
The Gators look to be in midseason form, even if they are just four games into their schedule, and coach Amanda O’Leary likes what she is seeing on the field.
“I thought we came out and competed really, really well. I’m really impressed with Shannon (Gilroy) tonight, I thought she had one of the best games I’ve seen her play all season,” O’Leary said. “…I am just super pleased with our offensive performance.”
Indeed, senior Shannon Gilroy did have one of her best offensive games of the season on Friday night. Her five goals, a team-high, bring her to a total of 196 as a Gator, just eight shy of becoming Florida’s all-time leading scorer.
Gilroy battled tonsillitis last week and had to miss some practice time, but she was perfectly healthy on Friday night.
The senior captain tallied 10 shots and four draw controls against San Diego State, both team-highs, and forced one ground ball and one turnover.
“I felt really well,” Gilroy said after the win Friday. “It felt good to get out here today and have my teammates help me get back into it.”
“I think towards the end of the game, (San Diego State) realized what they had to do in order to stop me and my teammates, so I think I just took that to my advantage and just went to goal when I could,” Gilroy added.
With a 13-3 lead at halftime, Florida sent in many of its reserve players in the second half and played more of a possession game rather than looking to score. Freshman Shayna Pirreca, however, still managed to score four goals, a career-best for her, on five shots.
The young attacker continues to impress each time she steps on the field and she attributes that to her connection with her teammates.
“I think we’re all just really getting to mesh with each other,” Pirreca said. “We’re really starting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses and just kind of meshing together.”
Follow Alex Maminakis on Twitter @alexmaminakis
Shannon Gilroy runs toward the net during Florida's win against San Diego State at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.