The first two minutes of Wednesday’s game against Cincinnati was one to forget for Florida.
UF trailed by two after goals from the Bearcats’ senior duo of Megan Bell and Courtney Curtis, and the Gators looked frazzled against an opponent that is winless in the Big East this season.
But that uncomfortable feeling quickly died out.
The Gators scored on just over half of their 33 shots to defeat Cincinnati 17-5 on the road.
Led by a hat trick by junior attacker Sammi Burgess, No. 2 Florida (15-1, 6-0 Big East) finished the opening half on a 13-1 run following the first two conceded goals.
“I thought we responded well and made good adjustments throughout the entire game in order to play (our) tempo,” UF coach Amanda O’Leary said in a release. “Today was a very physical game and I thought we did some good things.
Nicole Graziano, Lindsey Ronbeck and Devon Schneider all scored two goals in the half.
Ronbeck assisted on three goals by the game’s end, giving her multiple assists in three of her last four matches.
Senior attacker Carly Ross, who tied a career-high with three assists Wednesday, opened the scoring for Florida in the second half.
Following Shayna Pirreca’s 26th goal of the season, freshman attacker Alix Lopez scored her third goal of the season.
To close out the game, senior attacker Beth Willertz found the back of the net for the first time this season.
The Gators won the draw control battle 13-10, marking the fourth-straight game that UF has done so in a category that had been a struggle during the non-conference schedule.
For the second-consecutive match, defender Taylor Bresnahan led Florida in draw controls. Her four controls gave her 10 over the last two games.
Midfielder Mollie Stevens, who last played on March 19 in the Gators’ 14-4 loss to Maryland, sat out again Wednesday. She has now missed half of UF’s games this season despite scoring 17 of UF’s goals, which ranks sixth on the team.
With Connecticut’s last-minute 9-8 win over Georgetown Wednesday, Florida and UConn will play for the Big East title on Sunday at noon at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
Contact Kyle Brutman at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @KBrut13.
UF's Nicole Graziano (right) makes a play on the ball during Florida's 16-6 win over Dartmouth on Feb. 27, 2016.