The Florida women’s lacrosse team went into halftime with a 15-3 lead against Jacksonville on Thursday.
But the second half was a different story.
UF was held scoreless for more than 23 minutes and limited to only four goals, while the Dolphins scored 10.
Coach Amanda O’Leary challenged her team to “put two halves together” in its next game despite beating Jacksonville 19-13.
The No. 18 Gators responded by defeating East Carolina 20-10 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium on Saturday. Florida outscored the Pirates 13-8 in the first half and held them to only two goals in the second.
UF (9-6, 3-0 American Athletic Conference) remained undefeated in conference play by:
Converting from the free position
The Gators were fouled 28 times, with 18 of those resulting in free-position attempts.
They found the back of the net eight times from the free position.
Attackers Lindsey Ronbeck and Grace Haus took advantage of those opportunities by scoring four and two goals, respectively.
The other two free-position goals came from midfielder Shannon Kavanagh and attacker Madisyn Kittell.
Kittell had not scored from the free position this season until Saturday’s contest.
Although Florida committed 19 fouls, only eight of those turned into free-position chances for the Pirates, who scored on four of them.
ECU turned the ball over 12 times, and UF forced 11 of them.
Defender Cara Trombetta, the program’s all-time leader in caused turnovers (97), led Florida with six against the Pirates.
Five other Gators chipped in with one apiece, including midfielder Maddie McMaster, who recorded her first career caused turnover on Saturday.
UF also took care of the ball on offense, giving away possession only six times -- its lowest mark of the year.
East Carolina forced three of those turnovers, which ties Maryland for the fewest caused turnovers by a Florida opponent this season.
Controlling the draw
The Gators’ performance in the draw circle helped determine the outcome of Saturday’s game.
UF won 20 draw controls to ECU’s 12, which led to more possessions and more opportunities to score.
On top of causing the most turnovers on Saturday, Trombetta also led the team with five draw controls.
“Every day she steps out on that field she’s going to compete to the best of her ability,” O’Leary said. “Today was a good day for Cara (Trombetta) and one that we expect on a regular basis.”
Follow Bryan Matamoros on Twitter @bmatamoros_ and contact him at email@example.com.
UF attacker Grace Haus scored two goals in the Gators' win over East Carolina Saturday.