Midfielder Lindsey Durkota ran nearly the entire field.
Durkota launched the ball toward the Gators’ net. Goalkeeper Sarah Reznick stretched from post to post but couldn’t stop the speedy shot. Cincinnati took its first lead in the two-game series.
The back-to-back goals early in the first half proved the Bearcats weren’t going back to Ohio without a fight. However, No. 12 Florida completed the sweep with a 19-5 win.
“We knew that they weren’t just going to back down,” Reznick said. “We knew we had to come out even stronger today, and I think that we did a really good job of that.”
An early yellow card for a slash to attacker Brianna Harris’ head gave Florida a man-up advantage. Freshman Danielle Pavinelli ricocheted the ball past goalkeeper Kate Brocato, and it slapped the polyester net.
Harris couldn't catch a break as her goggles fell off of her face and earned a green card for trying to play the ball without them. Attacker Monica Borzillo, the Bearcats’ leading point scorer, took the opportunity to charge the net and score.
Both teams played aggressively. The Gator defense led by Cara Trombetta, a Preseason AAC Co-Defender of the Year, denied Cincinnati every chance it got.
Chants of “Here we go Gators, here we go,” rang through the ‘Diz’s stands. Fans stomped their feet in the bleachers, which created a different atmosphere from Friday’s matchup.
In a rush of adrenaline, midfielder Ashley Gonzalez pushed midfielder Amanda Fess, and she earned a yellow card. Not long after, midfielder Sam Mlkvy joined her opponent on the sideline with a green card for an illegal cradle.
The cards continued to roll in as the clock winded down. With eight minutes to go in the first half, AAC Preseason Midfielder of the Year Shannon Kavanagh and attacker Danielle Pavinelli earned hat tricks.
At the half, Florida boasted an 11-point advantage. And 11 soon turned into 14.
The AAC foes blitzed out of the field house eager to light up the scoreboard. Defender Kaitlyn Dabkowski spotted an open window and set up attacker Kassidy Bresnahan for a goal. The senior broke the seal after halftime three minutes in.
Coach Amanda O’Leary began to sub out her starters. Junior defender Catherine Moriarty shoved a Bearcats player like a shopping cart and got a yellow card.
Then, attacker Kaala Puglisi ripped a shot from the 12-meter fan. The ball grazed the top post, went bar down and rolled past goalkeeper Gianna Pope. The sophomore secured the win for Florida as her teammates erupted with cheers.
The Gators were ready as soon as they came out of the locker room, O’Leary said.
“Our team competed really well from top to bottom, so very happy with today’s performance,” she said. “The ability to finish at the end was critical.”
The Gators take on the East Carolina Pirates at the ‘Diz Thursday. Opening draw is set for 4 p.m.
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.