When attacker Sammi Burgess lined up for the free-position shot, a lot more was at stake than continuing Florida’s offensive run against Cincinnati.
Going into the game, the Fallston, Maryland, native was four points shy of reaching 200 points, a career milestone that only four Gators have achieved. Burgess had already amassed three points, one from a goal and two off of assists to goals from attackers Lindsey Ronbeck and Madisyn Kittell.
But as she waited for the referee’s whistle to blow, Burgess was ready for that fourth point. She raced to the goal and fired the ball towards Cincinnati goalie Alex MacAffer.
She wouldn’t be denied.
Burgess scored her second goal of the game and entered the exclusive 200-point club, the fifth Gators member.
“It’s definitely an honor,” Burgess said. “I’m happy that I’ve had an impact here, and I’m really happy it came on a day like today where top-to-bottom we played really well. Everyone got in and lots of people were scoring and contributing.”
Everybody was indeed scoring as 13 players recorded at least one goal in No. 3 Florida’s 19-2 win over Cincinnati at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in a one-sided game. The Gators dominated the Bearcats on both sides of the ball.
While Burgess recorded four points on two goals and two assists, the Gators were led in scoring by midfielder Allie Pavinelli, who scored a career-high four goals. Ronbeck added a hat trick, and ten other Gators scored a goal.
While the offense found depth throughout the roster, the defense really shined this game.
The Gators let up no goals in the first half, holding the Bearcats to two shots, both of which were saved by goalie Haley Hicklen.
After Hicklen’s two-save, scoreless first half, Florida turned to Olivia Cole and Kenzii Kittell to get the job done. And they delivered.
Cole and Kittell had a combined 11 saves in the game, all coming in the second-half. They faced 16 shots, only letting up two, and each recorded a career-high in saves with Cole getting six and Kittell with five.
“I can’t say enough about our three goalies,” coach Amanda O’Leary said. “They were lights out … they put a lot of work in. (They) don’t always get a lot of accolades, but I think today really showed how good our goalkeeping crew is.”
Florida capitalized during the Bearcats’ scoreless 30 minutes, amassing 15 goals. By the time Cincinnati scored its first goal 39 minutes into the game, Florida had scored 16 to create a comfortable lead.
From there, the Gators were able to play each eligible player and saw production from all around. In the end, Florida won the game by 17, a new high for the season and the largest margin of victory since defeating Cincinnati 20-1 on April 15, 2015.
“I thought we were moving the ball really well,” Pavinelli said. “Mandee (O’Leary)’s goal of the game was to come out and go a full 60 minutes, play our hardest. When we had our bench come in, everyone just did their best.”
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Sammi Burgess looks on during UF's win over Denver on March 25.