Florida’s tough stretch of opposition continued on Saturday with a second straight loss to a top five team, just the third time it has ever lost back-to-back games.
The No. 6 Gators (6-3) fell on the road to No. 1 Maryland (7-0) Saturday afternoon 16-6. Florida’s six goals were the least the Gators have scored in a game since May 5, 2013, when they scored three in a loss to Northwestern.
Although Florida scored the game’s first goal and was tied with Maryland 5-5 with 12:37 left in the first half, the Terrapins answered with six straight goals of their own.
Facing a six-goal deficit early in the second half, the Gators were never able to catch up.
“Against a team like Maryland, it’s very difficult to dig yourself out of that kind of deficit,” coach Amanda O’Leary said after the game. “I thought that was a little bit of a game changer.”
From the point that the game was tied, the Gators were outscored 11-1 and weren’t able to maintain offensive possession in the second half. They only got off just five shot attempts in the final 30 minutes.
Draw controls were the biggest factor of this game.
Maryland won the draw controls 15-9 and made the most out of each one, slowing down its offense and waiting for the right shot.
Brooke Griffin scored five goals for the Terrapins and added three assists and one draw control. Kelly McPartland added three goals, two assists and two caused turnovers. There’s a reason Maryland is the No. 1 team in the nation and defending national champions – it’s hard to find a weakness on this team.
“I think Maryland competed harder, quite honestly,” O’Leary said. “On a lot of those opportunities, there were two of us and one of them and they won out, so we need to get tougher, we need to get more aggressive…we have to compete harder.”
For Florida, this was its second straight loss, both coming to top five teams. The Gators lost at home in overtime to No. 5 Syracuse on Tuesday. Florida’s offense looked to be in rhythm early against Maryland, getting goals from Shannon Gilroy, Sammi Burgess, Mollie Stevens and Carly Ross, but the Gators ultimately fell victim to the Terrapins’ ability to dominate control of the game after winning the draw.
“We’re at a point in our season now where we can’t lose another game,” O’Leary said. “These are all must-wins for us.”
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.