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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
<p>UF midfielder Sydney Pirreca runs during Florida's 15-8 win against Denver on March 25, 2017, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.</p>

UF midfielder Sydney Pirreca runs during Florida's 15-8 win against Denver on March 25, 2017, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

Midfielder Sydney Pirreca controlled the ball after a successful clear attempt.

The Gators were trailing Maryland 2-0 with 17:46 left in the first half and were looking for a way to get past Terps goalie Megan Taylor, who had seven saves already.

After getting past her defender, Pirreca shot the ball towards Taylor.

It found Taylor’s stick for her eighth save of the game.

The Maryland goalie's saves were the highlight of the game for the Terrapins, who denied Florida early and often on just about every shot the Gators took.

Behind Taylor’s career-high 20 saves, 15 of which came in the first half, No. 1 Maryland (10-0) defeated No. 3 Florida 18-8 on Wednesday in Gainesville.

“We played a terrific Maryland team today,” coach Amanda O’Leary said. “They had an answer for us all afternoon, and we did not force them out of their comfort zone.”

Before the loss, Florida (8-2, 2-0 Big East) boasted the NCAA’s best scoring offense with 16.67 goals per game.

For most of the game, the Gators had no answer for Taylor, as it took Florida 14 minutes to score its first goal.

On offense, attacker Lindsey Ronbeck was the only player who was able to consistently find the back of the net, providing four of Florida’s eight goals. Attacker Shayna Pirreca scored two goals, and midfielders Allie Pavinelli and Brianna Harris also recorded one apiece.

On defense, however, the Gators fell apart, amassing 55 fouls and giving Maryland seven free-position goals on 14 free-position shots. The Gators also collected nine yellow cards.

Despite outshooting Maryland 37-36 and winning the ground ball game 17-11, Florida lost in draw controls 19-9, which led to the Terps easily going on runs throughout the game.

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Maryland was led by five goals from midfielder Zoe Stukenberg and hat tricks from attackers Megan Whittle, Caroline Steele and Brindi Griffin.

The game was close for most of the first half, with Florida tying the score at 2-2 with 12:14 left. But Maryland regained the lead on a 4-1 run to end the half.

Even with the strong defensive play from both sides in the first 30 minutes, Maryland took over in the end.

Florida was held to 13 shots in the second half, and committed eight turnovers.

And throughout the game, Taylor continued to stifle UF's offense, finishing with a .714 save percentage.

Up next for the Gators, they'll host Vanderbilt (5-3, 2-0 Big East) on Saturday. The Commodores enter the game 3-1 over their last four games, including a 22-4 win against Butler and a close 14-12 victory over Villanova.

Vanderbilt is led by attacker Kayla Peterson with 24 goals and midfielder Julie Blaze with 20 goals. On defense, Margaret Fee leads the team with 11 caused turnovers.

“We have a lot to work on before hosting a great Vanderbilt team,” O’Leary said.

Contact Jake Dreilinger at or follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake.

UF midfielder Sydney Pirreca runs during Florida's 15-8 win against Denver on March 25, 2017, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

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