It had the makings of last weekend’s blowout loss at home against No. 5 Loyola-Maryland.
Stony Brook controlled the opening draw and two-and-a-half minutes later, taking advantage of a man-up scenario, Seawolves’ junior midfielder Sarah Pulis spun past sophomore defender Emma Wightman and scored.
The ‘Wolves netted another goal before Florida junior midfielder Shannon Kavanagh cut the deficit in half. But the game soon got out of hand, and UF found itself down 5-1 with just over 11 minutes remaining in the first half. However, the Gators went on a 4-0 run to tie the game entering the second half. Thirty minutes, later, the No. 8 Gators (4-1) upset No. 3 Stony Brook (2-1) 12-10.
“We knew it was going to be a battle, goal for goal,” coach Amanda O’Leary said. “But I’m really proud of how the team came back from the 5-1 deficit.”
By the game’s end, Kavanagh stuffed the stat sheet with seven draws controlled, four goals, three ground balls, two caused turnovers and one assist.
She wasn’t Florida’s lone standout performer, as junior attacker Grace Haus scored a hat trick and added an assist and a ground ball. Sophomore midfielder Maggie Corbo netted two goals while Brianna Harris scored the game’s final goal, delivered by Kavanagh’s lone assist — a birthday gift for the redshirt junior midfielder. Freshman Emily Heller and junior Kassidy Bresnahan also found the back of the net once for the Gators.
“I think it just really shows how resilient we were; there was never a time anyone was nervous on the field or anxious,” Kavanagh said. “It was all-around a team win. I couldn’t have done any of it without them.”
Much of the game was dictated by the officiating, as the referees called 35 fouls, with 20 in the direction of Florida. It spurned the ire of several fans in attendance, who demanded the crew’s retirement, at times saying the officiating was horrendous and some of the worst they’ve seen.
It started in the first half when Haus was seemingly pushed from behind while trying to grab a ground ball, but Stony Brook benefitted and gained possession. A minute later, a similar incident happened, this time Pulis appeared to be shoved by freshman defender Becky Browndorf; Stony Brook acquired the ball, killing Florida’s first drive on offense.
O’Leary, describing lacrosse as a battle, defended the referees, saying the game is tough to officiate.
But by game’s end, it came down to defense. For much of the contest, neither team was able to pull away, but through a unified front, Florida’s defenders got the edge.
In the cage, redshirt freshman Sarah Reznick came away with 13 saves. Up front, senior Cara Trombetta led the unit with three ground balls and two caused turnovers. The defensive front helped limit Stony Brook’s No. 6 scoring offense to 43 percent shooting and only three assists.
In back-to-back weeks, Dizney Stadium was host to an upset victory. Last weekend, Reznick and her team had to watch as the Greyhounds rushed to Kaitlyn Larsson, whose 11-save performance sealed Loyola’s victory. This week, it was Reznick being swamped by the Gators.
“We started off a bit slow but I think once that happened, we were like, ‘Alright we can’t let this happen again, we can’t let them start rallying up the score,’” she said. “We just remained composed."
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