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Saturday, February 24, 2024
<p>Sophomore attacker Sammi Burgess fights for a ground ball during UF's 17-11 loss to UNC at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.</p>

Sophomore attacker Sammi Burgess fights for a ground ball during UF's 17-11 loss to UNC at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

The word lose, in any form, isn’t one that has typically been tossed around Donald R. Dizney Stadium since the lacrosse team's conception in 2010.

The Gators have had a winning culture since the program’s beginning.

In fact, Florida has only lost back-to-back games three times, ever.

Last week was the third occurrence.

Coming off of an overtime loss to No. 5 Syracuse on Tuesday and a 10-goal defeat to No. 1 Maryland on Saturday, No. 7 Florida (6-3) will look to right the ship tonight as it hosts No. 14 Stony Brook (5-0) at 6:30.

Possession and draw controls are two aspects of the game the Gators intend to improve.

At Sunday’s practice, the team had a competition to see who could win the most draw controls — the center-field faceoff after each goal.

According to sophomore Sammi Burgess, junior attacker Devon Schneider won the contest.

Schneider stands at 6-foot-2, yet surprisingly only has three draw controls so far this season.

So, Florida is moving on. Its tough week of games is behind it and the Gators are focused on learning from those losses and improving on their weaknesses.

Junior Sydney DuPre said the Gators look to get back to their winning ways by working hard in practice.

"I think bringing back a blue-collar mentality. We’re just working hard," DuPre said. "I think we kind of got lackadaisical because we came in this year thinking ‘we’re gonna be great, we only lost one senior,’ and I think we kind of lost that underdog mentality that we had last year and I think bringing that back will definitely help us."

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Florida isn’t used to losing like it has this season.

Granted, they have only lost three games and they have each been to teams ranked in the top five, but the Gators believe they’re better than that.

"This team is one that is willing to get at it," coach Amanda O’Leary said. "They’re not hanging their heads, they’re not pouting. They’re looking to watch film. They want to know what went wrong, and I think that says a lot about them as a team."

Despite the recent slide, Florida is still the seventh-ranked team in the nation and has a good chance of winning the Big East and making a run in the NCAA Tournament.

It won’t be easy, though.

Stony Brook comes into tonight’s game with only 23 goals allowed all season, the least among any team in the country.

The Gators are second in the nation with 135 goals scored this year. Something’s got to give.

Florida is ready for its next test, having gained what it could from its last two games.

"Once we’ve learned from (the losses), like today, I think it’s time to move on," Burgess said at practice on Monday, "move forward and focus on what’s ahead."

 Follow Alex Maminakis on Twitter @alexmaminakis

Sophomore attacker Sammi Burgess fights for a ground ball during UF's 17-11 loss to UNC at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

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