Florida’s women’s lacrosse team swarmed East Carolina from the first whistle.
The Gators forced the Pirates into early mistakes, causing six turnovers by the 21:52 mark of the first half. They turned three of them into goals to take a 4-1 lead.
No. 18 UF’s suffocating defense to start the game led to a 20-10 victory over ECU Saturday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Florida has won six straight games and is undefeated in the American Athletic Conference.
The Gators (9-6, 3-0 AAC) got on the scoreboard after junior defender Cara Trombetta took possession away from East Carolina (5-10, 0-3 AAC).
Trombetta passed the ball to junior midfielder Brianna Harris, who found senior midfielder Caroline Benitez for the game’s opening goal.
Benitez then caused another Pirates turnover, which eventually led to a free-position goal from senior attacker Lindsey Ronbeck.
Ronbeck has recorded 15 goals in the last two contests, with seven against ECU and eight in UF’s 19-13 triumph over Jacksonville on Thursday.
Coach Amanda O’Leary praised Ronbeck’s shot selection and noted that the senior has contributed in other ways, too.
“I think she’s taking the high-quality shots and putting the ball in the back of the net,” O’Leary said. “I also think she’s playing unselfishly.”
The AAC Preseason Attacker of the Year has posted an assist in five consecutive games and nine draw controls in her last three outings.
East Carolina scored its first goal when midfielder Nicole LeGar cut in front of the cage and slotted a shot past senior goalkeeper Haley Hicklen.
Hicklen notched six saves against the Pirates and has yet to allow more than 10 goals during UF’s six-game winning streak.
The Gators went on a 6-0 run following LeGar’s goal, but ECU responded with a 4-0 run of its own, cutting the deficit to 8-5.
By the end of the first half, Florida held a 13-8 lead.
“Credit ECU in the first half. They came out with the fifty-fifty ground balls, and they came at us hard offensively,” O’Leary said. “We put together a much better second half today.”
UF found the back of the net seven times in the last 30 minutes, while the Pirates managed only two goals.
“We were able to find the back side and find the open player and get shooting space a lot in the second half,” Ronbeck said. “So I think that’s mainly where we saw (East Carolina’s) defense fall apart.”
Follow Bryan Matamoros on Twitter @bmatamoros_ and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Senior attacker Lindsey Ronbeck has recorded 15 goals in the last two contests, with seven in the UF lacrosse team's 20-10 victory Saturday over East Carolina.