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Thursday, May 19, 2022
<p>UF attacker Mollie Stevens fights for the ball during Florida's 15-8 win against Denver on March 28, 2017, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.&nbsp;</p>

UF attacker Mollie Stevens fights for the ball during Florida's 15-8 win against Denver on March 28, 2017, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. 

Florida’s game had just started when midfielder Brianna Harris won the opening draw control. The freshman passed the ball off to set up the offense while she got into position.

Soon after, attack Mollie Stevens fed the ball back to Harris, who opened up scoring 31 seconds into the game.

One minute and 20 seconds later, Harris had another scoring opportunity. After receiving a pass from attacker Lindsey Ronbeck, Harris capitalized again, putting the score at 2-0 early on and starting a run that saw Florida score 16 goals before halftime.

Behind a big scoring day that saw 14 players record at least one goal, the No. 3 Gators (13-2, 7-0 Big East) dominated Butler 22-2 in Indianapolis.

"A true team effort today,” coach Amanda O’Leary said. “I'm really proud of how some of our younger players responded to playing significant conference minutes.”

Florida started the game on a 5-0 run before Butler scored its first goal. The Gators then went on an 11-0 run boosted by a Shayna Pirreca hat trick to go into halftime.

By the time Butler scored its final goal with 2:02 left in the game, Florida had already scored 22 to build up a comfortable lead.

While Harris finished the day with two goals, she wasn’t alone in Florida’s scoring. Attackers Madisyn Kittell and Pirreca and midfielder Lexi Bolton each recorded a hat trick, and midfielder Allie Pavinelli led all Gators with four points on two goals and two assists.

Stevens had a big day in the draw circle, corralling nine draw controls in the first half. She passed Shannon Gilroy for the most draw controls in a single season in program history with 85 draw controls.

On top of scoring and retaining possession of the ball, the Gators dominated in nearly every stat.

Florida shot the ball 43 times, won the draw control game 19-7 and caused five of Butler’s 18 turnovers.

All-around, Florida’s offense controlled the game, but its defensive play was impressive, limiting Butler (1-14, 0-7 Big East) to its lowest goal total since March 18 when it scored two goals against Georgetown.

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While goalie Haley Hicklen played a strong 11:38 in front of the net, most of the Gators goaltending came on the shoulders of Olivia Cole and Kenzi Kittell. Cole played nearly 23 minutes in goal, not allowing any shots to go in and making three saves. Kittell played a career-high 25:21 and made a career-high tying five saves.

The goalies faced just 12 shots, three in the first-half, thanks to increased pressure from the defense. The Gators held Butler to one free-position shot and only committed seven fouls.

“We were able to clean up some of our unforced errors,” O’leary said. “Which is critical before a big game at Temple next weekend.”

Florida will get a week off from play before heading to Philadelphia to play Temple. The Owls (13-2, 6-1 Big East) trail Florida by one game in the Big East rankings and are in a three-way tie for second place. They will be one of the four teams to make the Big East Tournament alongside Florida, Denver and Georgetown.

@DreilingerJake

jdreilinger@alligator.org

UF attacker Mollie Stevens fights for the ball during Florida's 15-8 win against Denver on March 28, 2017, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. 

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