With about five minutes remaining in the first half, the Gators made it clear they meant business as midfielder Shelton Sawers ripped one past Stetson’s goalkeeper to put them in the double digits. Then, Florida prevailed in the eye of the storm.
The No. 6 Gators withstood the rain as they lined up at the Athletic Training Center in DeLand, Florida, to face the unranked Stetson Hatters.
Stetson challenged Florida in the draw circle and won 12 out of 27 draws. Although Stetson made its mark on the scoreboard, an hour flew by as Florida emerged victorious 19-7.
Midfielder Shannon Kavanagh and attacker Maggi Hall each scored a pair of goals in the first half. Midfielder Ashley Gonzalez earned a hat trick as the clock ticked down.
Florida goalkeeper Sarah Reznick held the Hatters to two goals in the first half as they desperately tried to keep up with the aggressive Gators. The Long Beach, New York, native finished the game with three saves out of seven shots on goal.
At the half, the Gators led by 10. And 10 soon turned into 12.
Freshman goalkeeper Julia Hammerschlag got 30 minutes of cage action when she replaced Reznick. The Baltimore, Maryland, native recorded one save out of six shots on goal before the Hatters were defeated.
Kavanagh, the AAC Preseason Midfielder of the Year, broke the seal and earned her third hat trick of the season less than two minutes into the second half. The captain finished the match with five goals.
Then, Sophomore Emily Heller contributed to Florida’s lead with her first goal of the year. A minute later, Hatters’ midfielder Quinn Roe brought the game to 14-3.
Defender Brianna Harris also broke into Florida’s history books as she picked up three crucial assists. Harris’s sharp skills led to her 13th-straight game with an assist, the second-longest streak in program history.
Three goals from Stetson attacker Marina Rotella goals sliced the Gator’s lead to 10, even after midfielder Paisley Eagan’s second goal.
Janine Suris, a sophomore attacker, closed out the game when she rifled her first collegiate goal home. Eleven different Gators lit up the scoreboard as they reigned victorious.
Coach Amanda O’Leary reflected on the team effort she noticed on the field.
“Our offensive attack was incredibly balanced, and our defense was extremely solid throughout the entire 60 minutes today,” she said.
No. 6 Florida heads to Jacksonville to face the Dolphins March 13. Opening draw is set for 1 p.m.
Contact Karina Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org 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.