The Florida lacrosse team is streaking at the right time.
It started the 2019 season with six losses in nine games but has won seven straight ahead of the American Athletic Conference Tournament, which starts in the first week of May.
No. 18 UF remained undefeated in conference play after beating Connecticut 16-5 on Saturday at the George J. Sherman Family Sports Complex in Storrs, Connecticut.
Florida (10-6, 4-0 AAC) took down the Huskies (2-14, 0-4 AAC) thanks to a few things:
Shannon Kavanagh’s versatility
Sophomore midfielder Shannon Kavanagh displayed her offensive and defensive abilities against UConn.
She recorded a career-high eight points, with five goals and three assists against the Huskies. The AAC Preseason Midfielder of the Year has notched a hat trick in 11 out of 16 games this season.
She scored UF’s first goal of the game at the 28:11 mark of the first half after Connecticut opened the scoring.
Kavanagh found the back of the net for a second time less than three minutes later to put the Gators up 2-1.
The sophomore added two consecutive goals at the tail end of a 4-0 run, giving Florida an 8-2 lead with 6:07 remaining in the first half.
Her final goal came near the midway point of the second half off a pass from junior midfielder Brianna Harris.
She also collected three ground balls, caused two turnovers and controlled 13 draws. Kavanagh leads UF with 73 draw controls and has recorded at least one in 29 straight games, tying sophomore defender Sabrina Cristodero for most in program history.
Florida played a strong second half for the second-consecutive game.
The Gators scored seven goals and limited East Carolina to only two in the last 30 minutes of their 20-10 victory on April 13.
UF found the back of the net six times and held UConn to only one goal in the second half on Saturday.
Five different players scored for Florida in the last 30 minutes: Harris (1), Kavanagh (1), freshman attacker Hannah Mardiney (2), senior midfielder Caroline Benitez (1) and freshman midfielder Maggie Corbo (1).
Mardiney had been held without a goal for three straight games before scoring against the Huskies, and Corbo recorded her first collegiate goal.
UConn’s lone goal came at the 25:20 mark when midfielder Sydney Watson fired a shot past goalkeeper Haley Hicklen.
Connecticut failed to win a draw control in the last 30 minutes, while Florida controlled eight. This gave the Gators more opportunities to score and earn four conference victories for the sixth-straight year.
Follow Bryan Matamoros on Twitter @bmatamoros_ and contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Midfielder Shannon Kavanagh recorded a career-high eight points and 13 draw controls in Florida's 16-5 win over UConn on Saturday.