On paper, it might appear as though the Gators had upset the No. 1 Terrapins on Saturday.
Florida matched Maryland’s 34 shots, and it won in the draw circle 19-14. UF’s goalkeeper Haley Hicklen was outstanding once again, tying her career-high 14 saves from the season opener. Maryland goalie Megan Taylor only had 11 saves.
The Gators also forced 10 turnovers, while Maryland only caused three.
However, UF lost for the first time this season on Saturday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium to the Terps, 16-14, due in large part that it vastly out-fouled Maryland. Florida drew 31 fouls compared to UM’s 18.
Gators coach Amanda O’Leary said that the fouls weren’t a result of strict officiating, but rather resulted from mistakes by her team.
“We have to do a better job of just playing the game,” she said. “We need to be better about executing the details.”
Florida fouled UM 11 times in the shooting space, and the Terrapins executed out of the free position, scoring on seven of their 11 attempts. The Gators weren’t nearly as effective, scoring on only three of their eight free-position attempts.
Beyond being hurt by Maryland’s seven goals out of the free position, UF’s freshmen didn’t contribute the way they did in a 16-9 victory against Colorado on Feb. 11.
Only one freshman, midfielder Shannon Kavanagh, scored a goal for Florida on Saturday. Attacker Kassidy Bresnahan – who had two goals and an assist against Colorado – was kept off the scoreboard by the Terrapins and committed three turnovers in the loss.
The Gators know they were close to pulling off the program-defining upset against Maryland, but they will need to move on from it quickly, as a talented Loyola team comes to Gainesville on Sunday.
Considering how tough it played against the best team in the country in only the second game of the season, it appears that Florida is choosing to see the positive takeaways from the loss.
“It’s very early,” junior midfielder Sydney Pirreca said. “And that makes me very excited.”
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Florida goalkeeper Haley Hicklen earned Big East Defensive Player of the Week on Tuesday for her efforts against Villanova and Temple. It was the second time this season she has been awarded the title.