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Saturday, May 18, 2024
<p>Florida attacker Mollie Stevens (right) chases the ball in UF's loss to North Carolina on Feb. 11. </p>

Florida attacker Mollie Stevens (right) chases the ball in UF's loss to North Carolina on Feb. 11. 

It started with a Cara Trombetta ground ball pickup off a turnover.

After the play moved downfield, the ball ended up in the stick of senior attacker Mollie Stevens, who shot the ball at Towson goalkeeper Angie Benson.

The goalie blocked the shot, but the deflected ball landed in front of senior attacker Sammi Burgess. Burgess picked it up put it into the back of the net, giving the Gators a comfortable 4-1 lead with 14 minutes left in the half.

Behind 11 points from Burgess over two games, including a career-high seven points against Towson, the No. 3 Gators (4-1) defeated No. 16 Towson (3-3) 13-6 and Loyola (0-5) 15-5 in Maryland.

"What a great opportunity for us to come to Maryland and beat an experienced team like Towson in front of a lot of orange and blue in the stands,” coach Amanda O’Leary said after the Towson game.

On Saturday, the Gators got started early in the game, securing quick lead they never gave up.

Midway through the first half, UF started what became an 8-0 run over 34:48. Those eight goals proved to be enough for Florida to take the victory, as it won by seven goals.

UF didn’t just control the scoreboard against a ranked Towson team, it also controlled both sides of the ball, as well.

On offense, Florida scored 13 goals on 47 shots, 30 of which were on goal.

Burgess and Stevens each recorded hat tricks, while junior attacker Shayna Pirreca scored two goals and freshman midfielder Brianna Harris added two goals and two assists.

The defense, though, was even more impressive.

The Gators limited the Tigers to 16 shots and caused 10 turnovers.

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The defense also held Towson to one first-half goal.

To top off a great defensive effort, senior defender Taylor Bresnahan set the UF all-time caused turnover record when she recorded the 71st caused turnover of her career.

Against Towson, the Gators controlled the match, and on Wednesday against Loyola, Florida did the same.

The Gators outshot the Greyhounds 31-16, and kept the Greyhounds to 12 shots on goal.

Pirreca set a career-high in goals with five, while Burgess, sophomore attacker Lindsey Ronbeck and sophomore midfielder Sydney Pirreca each added two of their own.

On defense, the Gators caused seven Loyola turnovers, with defenders Taylor Bresnahan, Caroline Fitzgerald and Trombetta each causing two.

Florida also controlled the ground ball game, as it scooped up 21 ground balls to Loyola’s 11.

To add on to that strong offensive and defensive effort, sophomore Haley Hicklen was impressive in goal. She made 14 saves over two games, only letting in nine goals.

“A true team effort today,” O’Leary said. “Our entire defense played as a complete unit, and our offense had its most efficient game of the season.”

The Gators will need to continue that true team effort when they take on No. 7 Stony Brook on March 11 and No. 5 Syracuse on March 14.

The Seawolves enter the game 5-0, with a close win over Northwestern and a blowout victory over Towson.

They are led by junior attacker Kylie Ohlmiller, who has 21 goals, and senior attacker Courtney Murphy (14 goals). Seawolves goalie Anna Tesoriero has made 38 saves this season and has let up 32.

“We will need to keep this momentum going as we host Stony Brook and Syracuse in the next week," O’Leary said.

Follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake, or contact him at

Florida attacker Mollie Stevens (right) chases the ball in UF's loss to North Carolina on Feb. 11. 

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