The Florida women’s lacrosse team has been at its best when playing on the road throughout the 2018-19 campaign.
It won seven out of nine games outside of Donald R. Dizney Stadium, but lost four out of eight at home in the regular season.
The No. 19 Gators continued their success away from home in the American Athletic Conference Tournament semifinal on Thursday, defeating Vanderbilt 19-10 at the Sheakley Athletics Center in Cincinnati.
“For us, it’s just another game,” coach Amanda O’Leary said in an interview with the American Digital Network after the victory. “Our success on the road is indicative of the work they put in prior to getting here.”
Senior midfielder Sydney Pirreca led Florida (12-6, 5-0 AAC) with 11 points against the Commodores (10-6, 2-3 AAC), which tied the program record for most in a single game.
“If I need to take over and help my team and conduct the offense or the defense, then I can do that for my team,” Pirreca told the American Digital Network following the win.
She found the back of the net five times, a season-high, and notched a team-record six assists.
Pirreca’s 11-point performance also helped her become the seventh Gator to reach the 200-point mark for her career.
“It felt awesome. It was totally a team win,” Pirreca said. “I wouldn’t have been able to do anything I did today without the help of my teammates and them finishing the ball when we needed to.”
Sophomore attacker Grace Haus also recorded five goals, while sophomore midfielder Shannon Kavanagh and senior attacker Lindsey Ronbeck scored four and three, respectively.
Ronbeck, who was honored as the AAC Attacker of the Year at the beginning of the week, became only the second player in UF history to surpass the 300-point mark on Thursday.
Senior goalkeeper Haley Hicklen posted seven saves against Vanderbilt, finishing the contest with a .438 save percentage after conceding all nine goals. She has allowed no more than 10 goals in nine straight games.
The AAC Goalkeeper of the Year registered her 12th win of the season and 47th of her career. She is now three victories away from tying former goalkeeper Mikey Meagher’s program record (50).
Florida will face Cincinnati in the AAC championship game on Saturday at 1 p.m. after beating the Bearcats 25-6 in the regular-season finale last weekend.
“It’s exciting. I thought our team played really hard but credit Vanderbilt,” O’Leary said. “They came out here with a great game plan. We just played very, very well today.”
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Midfielder Sydney Pirreca tied the program record with 11 points as UF advanced to the AAC Championship.