A historic season for the Gators lacrosse team came to an end on Saturday, as a late run wasn’t enough to topple No. 4 James Madison. Florida was held to single-digit goals for the first time this season as they fell to the Dukes 11-8 in Harrisonburg, Virginia.
“We knew they were going to come out with a fantastic game plan and we are wishing them the best moving forward,” UF coach Amanda O’Leary said in a release. “… definitely the better team today.”
In a low-scoring game, the Gators (17-4) appeared to be in control early. Junior attacker Lindsey Ronbeck scored the two opening goals, and the team held JMU scoreless until 8:29 remained in the first half.
However, that advantage evaporated, as Charlotte Haggerty and Kristen Gaudian scored two goals for James Madison in under a minute to tie the game. Despite an answer from UF freshman Grace Haus, the Dukes took a 4-3 lead into the locker room.
Haus opened the second half with a goal for the Gators, followed by another from Shannon Kavanagh to get back on top, 5-4.
But a 7-1 run from JMU gave it a five-goal lead with only eight minutes left in the game. Florida only scored one goal during a 23:42 stretch of the final period.
“We were not finding our offense well during the first half, so we tried to revamp a bit,” O’Leary said. “Credit to JMU because their defense.. did a great job against us today and really pulled us out of our comfort zone."
UF tried to make things interesting late in the contest, narrowing the Dukes’ lead to three with 3:10 left, but it was too late. Florida’s win streak ended at 11 games.
James Madison (20-1) advances to the NCAA Semifinals in Stony Brook, New York, where they could potentially match up against No. 1 Maryland in the championship game. The Terrapins defeated the Dukes on March 24, JMU’s only loss this season.
Senior attacker Shayna Pirreca – one of six players in UF history to reach 200 career points – saw her UF career end unceremoniously, as she failed to score a goal for the first time in 40 games.
In addition to Pirreca, star defender Aniya Flanagan and four other seniors donned the orange and blue for the last time on Saturday.
The class of seniors ushered in unprecedented lacrosse success in Gainesville, finishing with a 67-15 record, four Big East Championship, and two NCAA Tournament victories.
"It is very sad to see them go, they have brought so much to our program – from the team chemistry to the culture to the work ethic,” O’Leary said. “I couldn't be more proud of this senior class and they are going to be very missed."
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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.