After a turnover by North Carolina, sophomore midfielder Sydney Pirreca received a pass on a clear.
As she ran downfield, Pirreca made a move past a defender and headed toward the goal, readying her shot.
Goal. 44 seconds in.
Then, after falling behind 3-1, Pirreca scored again off another clear to put the Gators down by one.
In the No. 4 UF lacrosse team’s loss against No. 1 UNC on Feb. 11, it was Pirreca who got things going for Florida, opening up the scoring in 2017.
And in the first half of the UNC game, she wasn’t alone. She was joined by her sister, junior attacker Shayna Pirreca.
“They’re out here all the time,” coach Amanda O’Leary said. “On their off days, they are out here together shooting. They have an incredible work ethic and they want to compete at the highest level.”
In the first half, Sydney and Shayna were the Gators’ lone scorers, netting three goals to keep Florida within striking distance of the Tar Heels.
Both sisters ended the game with hat tricks, scoring six of Florida’s 10 goals.
The Gators will look to the Pirrecas to replicate their success tonight when they take on No. 3 Southern California at Donald R. Dizney Stadium at 6:30.
The Trojans are coming off two wins, a 20-2 victory against St. Mary’s and an 11-10 overtime thriller against Northwestern.
“We’re coming against one of the best draw specialist in the game: Makayla Michaels,” O’Leary said. “I think for us, the big thing is just either trying to make it a 50-50 ball or containing her the best we can.”
Aside from the fact that Florida hasn’t played USC before, what will make the Trojans tough for the Gators is their use of a zone defense.
This means that Florida’s fast-paced, score-quick offense won’t be able to rely on the attackers and midfielders shaking their defenders in the middle of a possession. Another defender will be there to take her place.
The use of a different kind of defense will cause the Gators to adjust their offense a bit, finding different ways to get past the zone.
“This is definitely a huge game for us, especially coming off a loss in the first game of the season,” Shayna Pirreca said.
“It kind of lit a fire for us and makes us want to win that much more.”
Attacker Shayna Pirreca leads Florida with 44 goals on the season.