There’s a reason that the Gators lacrosse team was a unanimous pick to win the Big East during the preseason: it hasn’t lost a conference game since 2015.
No. 9 Florida (11-3, 6-0 Big East) is the only ranked team in the conference, and aside from a close call in its league opener against Vanderbilt when it won 11-10, Big East play has been a breeze for the Gators. Of the six conference games the team has played, it forced a running clock in four of them.
The vast gap between Florida and the rest of the Big East field was on full display in UF’s 18-6 beat down of Marquette on Saturday.
The Eagles (9-5, 5-1 Big East) entered the game tied for the lead in the conference standings, but once again, the Gators left no doubt that they were the better team.
In similar games this season, Florida has taken advantage of every opportunity to rest starters and give its bench a chance to show what it can do.
So far, the results have been impressive. Against Marquette, UF’s reserves scored four goals.
“It's a long week ahead so it was good for some starters to get a break,” Gators coach Amanda O’Leary said in a release. “But it is also good to see some players who typically don't get in and see what they can do.”
Freshman midfielder Eddy Shoop, who hadn’t scored a goal all season heading into the team’s matchup against Temple on April 4, has found the back of the net in each of Florida’s past three games.
Sophomore attacker Madisyn Kittell burst onto the scene in the Gators’ overtime victory over Loyola on February 25, scoring two critical goals late in the game. She scored two goals in the subsequent win over Jacksonville before being held scoreless over the next three games.
However, since the team began conference play, she has scored seven goals in seven games, including two-goal performances against Villanova and Towson.
With only three games remaining in the regular season for Florida, the experience gained by players that don’t normally see the field should prove valuable in the postseason.
With their conference winning streak now at 28, the Gators will travel to Cincinnati to take on the Bearcats at noon on Wednesday.
The team has won five straight games and will look to continue its strong finish to the season.
Follow Tyler Nettuno on Twitter @TylerNettuno or contact him at email@example.com.
Florida lacrosse coach Amanda O’Leary (left) was pleased with the way her bench performed in its 18-6 victory over Marquette on Saturday. "It is... good to see some players who typically don't get in and see what they can do,” O'Leary said.