A bachelor’s degree in history and a conference title?
It’s all in a day’s work for Shayna Pirreca.
The senior attacker graduated on Saturday and scored two goals as the Florida lacrosse team raised the tournament championship trophy for the fourth-consecutive year following an 18-6 win over Denver in the Big East Championship Game.
“We didn’t take the foot off the pedal and I’m really proud of them,” Gators coach Amanda O’Leary said in a release.
No. 9 UF (16-3, 9-0 Big East) will leave the Big East for the American Athletic Conference riding a 33-game conference winning streak, while No. 19 Denver (12-6, 6-3 Big East) fell to Florida in the conference title game for the second-straight season at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
Once again, attacker Lindsey Ronbeck – named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament – was electrifying. After scoring eight goals against Marquette, she scored seven against the Pioneers, setting a new record for total goals scored in the Big East Tournament.
Four additional Gators earned All-Tournament honors: Pirreca, her sister Sydney, and defenders Sabrina Cristodero and Cara Trombetta.
Sydney Pirreca scored three goals and an assist in the championship game.
Trombetta matched a program record for caused turnovers in a game with five, and goalie Haley Hicklen made nine saves on 15 shots on goal. Overall, UF’s defense performed much better than it did in the season’s prior game against Denver, as it allowed 13 goals in that contest.
“Our defense was just stellar today,” O’Leary said. “You saw it from every single one of them, they all did their jobs today.”
Florida opened the game scoring the first seven goals and never let up. The Pioneers only found the back of the net once in the first half, and UF held 10-1 lead heading into the locker room.
In the second half, Denver was able to put up more than twice as many shots on goal as it did in the first but couldn’t stop the Gators’ attack. Florida scored eight more goals in the final period, sealing the conference title.
As a top-10 team in the country, Florida will certainly be in the 26-team field for the NCAA Tournament, which begins on Friday. What remains to be determined is the team’s seeding. If the Gators can land a seed in the top eight, they will host at least the first round of the tournament.
The NCAA Tournament bracket will be released Sunday night at 9:30 on NCAA.com.
You an follow Tyler Nettuno on Twitter @TylerNettuno or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior Shayna Pirreca and her sister, Sydney, led UF to victory over Colorado in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday with a combined seven goals.