Florida’s women’s lacrosse team dejectedly walked off the field after the final whistle blew at the Ridley Athletic Complex in Baltimore, Maryland.
Loyola players ran toward their net in celebration as the No. 16 Greyhounds defeated the No. 5 Gators 15-12 on Saturday for the first time in program history.
“The better team won today,” coach Amanda O’Leary said in a release. “They were outstanding defensively, and they had a great, balanced offensive attack.”
UF (1-2) got off to a promising start behind goals from midfielders Sydney Pirreca and Shannon Kavanagh and attacker Grace Haus.
Loyola (1-1) answered with four consecutive goals in a span of just over seven minutes and tightened up its defense.
The Greyhounds allowed just one more goal for the rest of the half and went into the break leading 6-4.
Attacker Emily Cooper scored a goal 44 seconds into the second half to put Loyola up 7-4, but Florida responded with three goals to tie the game, prompting Greyhounds coach Jen Adams to call a timeout.
The timeout helped Loyola regroup, as it went on a 3-0 run to regain the lead with 23:36 remaining in the second half.
Gators attacker Lindsey Ronbeck, who was named AAC Attacker of the Week for her 8-goal performance against Maryland on Feb. 14, was held scoreless up to that point.
The Greyhounds double-teamed her consistently throughout the game, yet Ronbeck took advantage of free-position opportunities in the second half.
She scored two free-position goals and one in the run of play to cut the deficit to 12-11.
Goals from Loyola midfielders Elli Kluegel and Sam Fiedler stopped UF’s momentum.
Midfielder Madi Hall gave Florida hope with a free-position goal at the 3:51 mark, but two saves from Greyhounds goalkeeper Kady Glynn kept her team in the lead at 14-12.
The Gators chased after the ball desperately as Loyola played keep away with two minutes left in the game.
The Greyhounds’ long control of possession was capped off with a goal from attacker Hannah Powers to put the game out of reach for UF.
UF has now lost two straight regular-season games — something that hasn’t happened since its 2015 campaign.
O’Leary isn’t letting that affect the confidence of her team moving forward, though.
“We have plenty of games ahead of us,” she said. “Luckily, this is a long season and we have some time to regroup.”
Follow Bryan Matamoros on Twitter @bmatamoros_ and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Midfielder Sydney Pirreca scored one goal and had two assists in the Gators' 15-12 loss to Loyola on Saturday.