For the second-straight Tuesday, Florida played host to a Top-25 team. And for the second-straight time, the Gators lost to that team by one goal.
No. 7 Florida (6-4) fell to No. 14 Stony Brook (6-0) 12-11 on Tuesday night to give the Gators their third straight loss for just the second time in program history. The first time was in 2010, the team’s inaugural year.
Last Tuesday, Florida lost to No. 5 Syracuse in overtime. On Saturday, the Gators were beaten on the road by No. 1 Maryland. Tuesday was a game Florida felt it could have won, and that it should have won. Turnovers were what ultimately killed the Gators. You can’t score if you keep giving your opponent the ball.
"You’re gonna have your off days, and unfortunately today we had a really off day," senior Shannon Gilroy said. "I think this is a really big wake-up call for us. I think we need to learn a lot from this game…the next few games coming up are huge for us. I mean it’s like end-all, be-all right now."
Gilroy finished with a team-high six points, scoring two goals and recording career-high four assists. Unfortunately for Florida, Gilroy was also one of four players who committed two turnovers.
Stony Brook took advantage of those turnovers and turned them into quick goals. Freshman Kylie Ohlmiller scored a game-high five goals on five shots and added one assist. When the Seawolves had possession they controlled the pace of the game — which turned out to be a very slow one.
From the 10:34 mark of the first half down until the final 16 seconds, Stony Brook held the ball on its half of the field and played keep away. Before time expired, Ohlmiller scored to give the Seawolves a 5-4 lead going into halftime. Florida never regained the lead and got caught chasing instead of leading.
"I think we know exactly what we need to work on. A lot of it’s heart and a lot of it’s finishing out a game and working hard for an entire 60 minutes," senior Nora Barry said. "Now, every game is a must-win. I mean, this was a must-win for us, but now we really just have to focus and make the improvements that we have to make."
Florida simply isn’t used to losing like this, especially three games in a row. The team’s vibe at Monday’s practice indicated that the Gators had moved on from its two straight losses and was ready to get back to its winning ways against Stony Brook.
Now, as Florida heads into conference play this weekend, the team understands the importance of winning in the Big East, especially with four losses on its resume. The Gators have no more room for error as Florida heads to Nashville, Tennessee to take on Vanderbilt on Sunday before heading farther north to face Temple on March 28.
With UF on the road for the rest of the month, the Gators need to right the ship on the road -- but coach Amanda O’Leary said that the team knows what they need to do to get back to their winning ways.
"Coming out of that locker room tonight, I think you’re gonna have a bunch of sad individuals," O’Leary said, "but after talking to them, they know what needs to be done, and hopefully we get back at it (in practice) on Thursday."
Follow Alex Maminakis on Twitter @alexmaminakis
Shannon Gilroy runs toward the net during Florida's 12-11 loss to Stony Brook on March 17 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.