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Thursday, December 01, 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 was up 2-0 over Vanderbilt on Saturday when attacker Mollie Stevens won the ensuing draw control.

After getting fouled, she raced downfield and saw Sydney Pirreca open in front of the goal. She passed the ball to Pirreca, who turned and shot it into the net.

The Gators now led 3-0 thanks to two goals 12 seconds apart.

Pirreca’s goal was part of a scoring effort that saw nine Gators record at least one goal in the team's dominant 16-6 win over the Commodores that helped the Gators (9-2, 3-0 Big East) stay perfect in conference play.

“(I) thought they played really well,” UF coach Amanda O’Leary said after the Vanderbilt game. “I think it goes to show the fact that they distributed the ball really well. They have confidence in one another.”

After three Big East games, Florida is the only undefeated team in the conference with the help of a potent offense.

The Gators have scored 51 goals in three conference games and have let up 24. Attackers Stevens and Shayna Pirreca rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the Big East in total goals with 37 and 35, respectively.

As a team, Florida ranks No. 1 in the conference in goals per game (15.82), assists per game (7), ground balls per game (23.09), shots per game (35.36) and points per game (22.82).

And out of 180 minutes of conference play, the Gators have only trailed for 3:28.

While Florida’s offense has been extremely effective, its defense has been impressive in its own right.

The defense has held nine of its 11 opponents under their season averages. Taylor Bresnahan leads all defenders with 15 caused turnovers and Caroline Fitzgerald leads with 30 ground balls.

In goal, Haley Hicklen leads the conference in save percentage with .485 on 98 saves and 104 goals allowed.

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Due to strong play all around, Florida, like it has since it joined the Big East in 2015, is continuing to dominate.

And the Gators will look to stay atop the Big East when they take on Marquette (4-7, 2-1 Big East) on Wednesday.

The Golden Eagles are coming off a 20-6 win over Villanova and a close 17-16 overtime loss to Temple. Attacker Julianna Shearer and midfielder Grace Gabriel lead Marquette’s offense with 32 goals and 29 goals, respectively.

“(Marquette does) a terrific job in the draw circle and play especially well at home,” O’Leary said in a release. “We’re looking forward to a really great challenge tomorrow.”

The game starts at 1 p.m. in Milwaukee at Valley Fields Dome.

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

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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