The Florida women’s lacrosse team relied on sophomore midfielder Shannon Kavanagh’s versatility against Connecticut.
Kavanagh posted five goals and three assists for a career-high eight points. She also recorded three ground balls, two caused turnovers and a career-best 13 draw controls.
Her all-around performance powered the No. 18 Gators to a 16-5 victory over the Huskies Saturday at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex. It was UF’s seventh-straight win and last road game of the regular season.
UConn (2-14, 0-4 American Athletic Conference) found the back of the net less than two minutes into the contest, but Kavanagh answered back 26 seconds later.
Kavanagh’s goal sparked a 4-0 run by Florida (10-6, 4-0 AAC), in which she and senior attacker Lindsey Ronbeck scored twice.
After opening the scoring, Connecticut went nearly 15 minutes without a goal.
Attacker Stephanie Palmucci ended the drought when she fired a shot past senior goalkeeper Haley Hicklen at the 13:38 mark of the first half, bringing the Huskies’ deficit to 4-2.
The Gators responded with four consecutive goals from senior midfielder Madi Hall (1), sophomore attacker Kassidy Bresnahan (1) and Kavanagh (2) to put them up 8-2.
Goals from attacker Lexi Kenneally and Palmucci cut UF’s advantage to 8-4, but Florida found the back of the net twice before the end of the half and went into the break leading 10-4.
The Gators dominated the second half, as they scored six goals and limited UConn to only one, which came from midfielder Sydney Watson at the 25:20 mark.
“This was a total team effort today,” coach Amanda O’Leary said in a release. “I was really proud of the team on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball.”
UF’s restless attack made Connecticut goalkeeper Grace Beshliann struggle throughout the entire game. She made 11 saves, as Florida shot the ball 35 times, with 27 of those hitting the frame.
Kavanagh led UF with five goals, while Hall, Ronbeck and freshman attacker Hannah Mardiney each scored two.
Defensively, the Gators caused 12 turnovers and held the Huskies to 5-of-18 shooting. Hicklen notched five saves and a .500 save percentage before being replaced by junior goalkeeper Kenzii Kittell near the end of the game.
Florida came away with 19 draw controls to Connecticut’s four, and O’Leary noted how important that was for the Gators.
“Our presence in the draw circle really made a difference this afternoon,” O’Leary said. “It allowed us to control the pace.”
Follow Bryan Matamoros on Twitter @bmatamoros_ and contact him at email@example.com.
UF midfielder Shannon Kavanagh (left) posted five goals and three assists for a career-high eight points in the Gators' win over Connecticut.