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Thursday, December 01, 2022
<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. 

UConn was within striking distance of the Florida lacrosse team with 14:10 left in the first half and down 5-4.

The Gators were left looking for anyone that could end the Huskies’ momentum and continue Florida’s scoring efforts.

Florida’s answer: senior attacker Mollie Stevens and sophomore attacker Lindsey Ronbeck.

Stevens and Ronbeck scored a combined three goals in one minute to extend the score to 8-4 and ended a UConn a two goal UConn run.

Behind seven-point performances from both Stevens and Ronbeck, the Gators (7-1, 1-0 Big East) earned their first Big East win over UConn (3-5, 0-1 Big East) 20-10 in Storrs, Connecticut.

"UConn was well-prepared for us today and gave us a great conference opener,” coach Amanda O’Leary said. “It took an all-around effort from our entire team to come out of here with a win.”

While Stevens and Ronbeck accounted for half of Florida’s goals (five goals and two assists each), their teammates helped close the game out for the Gators.

Junior attacker Shayna Pirreca, sophomore attacker Sydney Pirreca and freshman midfielder Brianna Harris each recorded hat tricks, and freshman Madisyn Kittell rounded out the scoring with her first career goal.

The action was back-and-forth for the first 16 minutes, with the the lead changing twice and the score set at 5-4.

After scoring three goals in one minute and a fourth one with 11:50 left in the half, the Gators began controlling the game, never dropping below a three goal lead.

And the stats showed that domination.

The Gators outshot the Huskies 38-28, putting 29 of them on goal to UConn’s 20. Florida also caused eight of UConn’s 26 turnovers and had 20 draw controls to the Huskies’ 11.

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The only stat Florida lost, however, was the ground ball game, scooping up 18 ground balls to UConn’s 19.

While Florida’s offense continued to excel (it's third game with at least 20 goals), it's defense put up another impressive performance.

Senior Caroline Fitzgerald led all defenders with four ground balls and two caused turnovers.

The defenders also held the Huskies to five goals in each half, and goalie Haley Hicklen made 10 saves, her fourth game this season with double digit saves.

For Florida this isn't new. Ever since the Gators lost to North Carolina, they have controlled the pace of every match, outscoring their opponents by big margins and dominating the stats.

The Gators will look to continue their dominance on Saturday when they play Denver in Gainesville. Florida is currently riding a seven game win streak that features wins over four ranked teams.

“We have a week of preparation ahead to get ready for Denver,” O’Leary said.

@DreilingerJake

jdreilinger@alligator.org

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

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