The defending Big East champion Florida lacrosse team has looked the part during its tear through league play in 2018. Winner of five straight games, UF now has an opportunity to seal its fourth consecutive Big East title as it travels to Denver to take on the Pioneers on Saturday afternoon at 2 EST.
The No. 9 Gators (12-3, 7-0 Big East) have scored with ease this season, especially after junior attacker and second-leading scorer Lindsey Ronbeck returned from a three-game absence on March 31 against Connecticut. Ronbeck suffered a knee injury against Navy on March 13. Since rejoining the lineup, Florida has won every game by double digits and averages 18.4 goals per contest.
UF’s scoring attack ranks sixth in the country, and its leading scorer — senior attacker Shayna Pirreca — has 44 goals, as well as 15 assists, in 2018.
Denver (10-4, 5-2 Big East), the No. 3 team in the Big East, is coming off a 17-11 victory at Marquette. The Pioneers handed the Eagles their second loss in Big East play on Wednesday and will now look to spoil the Gators’ perfect run in their conference slate.
Florida’s offense will face one of its toughest tests of the year against Denver’s ninth-ranked defense. The Pioneers hold their opponents to just 8.9 goals per game.
Denver goalie Carson Gregg is a major component of the Pioneers’ stout defense. The sophomore has made 95 saves this season with a save percentage of .461.
Fortunately for the Gators, Denver’s offensive unit is not nearly as potent. Junior attacker Julia Feiss leads the team in scoring with 36 goals, followed by freshman attacker Quintin Hoch-Bullen with 30. The Pioneers’ attack ranks 52nd, scoring just 12.4 goals per game.
It will be a family reunion of sorts on Saturday, as UF senior goalie Olivia Cole will go against her sister, Amelia. Both Cole sisters have seen playing time in front of the net late in games this year. Olivia has made 11 saves this year, while Amelia, a freshman, has made nine in three games.
Florida’s two-game, 3,700-mile road trip will conclude on Saturday in the Mile-High City, and the Gators could walk out of Peter Barton Lacrosse Stadium as Big East champions.
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Attacker Shayna Pirreca leads Florida with 44 goals on the season.