Florida lined up at UofL Lacrosse Stadium as decided favorites against an unranked Louisville team, boasting an arsenal of all-conference and all-American selections to go with a top-ten ranking.
But the opportunistic Cardinals blitzed UF from the opening draw and scored two goals inside the opening ten minutes and forced the No. 8 Gators into an early hole.
After Florida fought back to claim a 4-3 lead, its offensive capability shone through in the form of senior Shannon Kavanaugh. Kavanagh, the AAC Preseason Midfielder of the Year, scored back-to-back goals and hit 200 career points, the ninth in program history to do so.
Kavanaugh and senior Kassidy Bresnahan ultimately finished with hat tricks, three goals in one game, as UF ran out of the Bluegrass state as 14-7 victors for its first win of the season.
After a six minute scoring drought in the first half, freshman attacker Danielle Pavinelli capitalized for Florida and finished off a 3-0 run for UF after an early Cardinals lead. UF had 16 shots on goal in the first half. Louisville attacker Allegra Catalano responded with a goal to reduce the Gators lead.
Then, it was all Florida. UF won more than half of 23 draw controls.
Freshman attacker Maggi Hall scored her first collegiate goal and brought the Gators 7-3. Lineup changes for Scott Teeter’s Cardinals cashed another goal as time winded down.
At the half, Florida led by three. And three soon turned into seven.
Right out of the locker room, redshirt sophomore Paisley Eagan doubled UF’s lead at the start of the second half with a second goal. The Gators fired 12 shots on goal in the second half.
A foul on the Gators awarded Louisville midfielder Bella Karstien a free position opportunity and, ultimately, a Cardinals goal. Louisville drew 35 fouls on Florida.
It seemed as if the orange and blue carried over its momentum from last season. Florida dominated — and scored three goals in less than two minutes.
Bresnahan scored a hat trick and expanded the Gators’ lead to seven. Hall then scored her second goal. Kavanagh earned a hat trick with just six minutes left.
With under five minutes left, Louisville scored back-to-back goals. Senior midfielder Caroline Blalock earned her second of the game.
Florida outscored Louisville 7-3 in the second half and won with double the points.
“We saw some bright spots in the game, but it also showed us where we need to grow in order to continue to have success.” coach Amanda O’Leary said.
To O’Leary, it was great getting back on the field after an 11 month offseason, and the team hopes to build on their Saturday win.
Florida will look to stay in the win column as it heads to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Friday to face the No. 1 Tar Heels. The game is scheduled to start at noon and will stream on ACC Network Network and ESPN+.
Contact Karina Wilson at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter @kk_rinaa
Karina Wilson is a second-year student at the University of Florida within the College of Journalism and Communications with a specialization in sports and media. She aims to produce engaging, accurate and current content for all types of sports fans. Currently, Karina is The Alligator's lacrosse beat writer.