The No. 8 Florida lacrosse team continued its romp through Big East play on Sunday as it took down Villanova 18-8 on the road to earn its fourth straight victory.
“I’m extremely proud of how well the entire team competed today,” Gators coach Amanda O’Leary said in a release. “Our energy level throughout the game was terrific and I think it showed.”
UF (10-3, 5-0 Big East) trailed early after allowing a first-minute goal from Wildcats midfielder Christine Graziano. However, Florida responded with a 10-1 run over the next 17:09, taking a 14-4 lead to the locker room.
Villanova (6-6, 1-4 Big East) was able to score four goals in a second half that featured a running clock, but it wasn’t enough to close the gap against the Gators, as the Wildcats lost by double-digit goals for the first time this season.
“We were able to make substitutions early on in the first half and keep everyone’s legs fresh during the second half,” O’Leary said.
A pair of juniors — attacker Lindsey Ronbeck and midfielder Sydney Pirreca — combined for eight goals for the second consecutive game.
Senior attacker Shayna Pirreca scored two goals Sunday afternoon, marking her 33rd consecutive game scoring a goal — a school record.
Gators junior goalie Haley Hicklen had another strong performance, making five saves on 11 shots on goal before being pulled for Olivia Cole with 18:15 remaining in the game.
Freshman midfielder Shannon Kavanagh continued her dominant rookie campaign in the draw circle, setting a new school record for draw controls in a game with 12. As a team, Florida won in the circle 17-11 against a Villanova squad that ranked second in the Big East with 16 draw controls per tilt.
“Shannon (Kavanagh) did a great job for us in the draw circle, and helped us control possession of the ball for the whole game,” O’Leary said.
In addition to her defensive efforts in holding the Wildcats’ leading goal scorer Jillian Swikart to only two goals, freshman defender Sabrina Cristodero scored the first goal of her career on a free-position attempt in the second half.
With only four games remaining in the regular season, Florida sits tied atop the Big East standings with Marquette (9-4, 5-0 Big East).
The Gators have six days off before the Eagles come to Gainesville on Saturday for a game that could likely decide the regular-season conference champion. A victory would give UF a one-game lead with only three games left to play.
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Junior attacker Lindsey Ronbeck scored the first two goals of the game on Saturday, but it wasn't enough as the Gators fell to James Madison, 11-8.