With 20 minutes left in the first half, midfielder Danielle Pavinelli drove to the net. The freshman darted through the eight-meter arc and ripped the ball into Vanderbilt’s net.
Goalkeeper Lexie de Roziere stretched from post to post but couldn’t stop the speedy shot. Florida then led 8-0 early.
The Commodore goalkeeper allowed three goals in four minutes until Paige Gunning replaced her in the cage.
The sunshine peeked through the clouds Sunday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium when No. 10 Florida clinched the regular season AAC Championship with a 22-9 win over No. 20 Vanderbilt. The eight Gator seniors defended the ‘Diz on Senior Day with a total of 23 points.
Shannon Kavanagh, the AAC Preseason Midfielder of the Year, zipped through Vanderbilt’s zone to secure a first-half hat trick. The Smithtown, New York, native boasted seven assertive goals in the match.
The Commodore offense failed to capitalize until four minutes into the first half. Midfielder Bri Gross put all her strength into a hard shot that propelled the ball into the polyester net. And then, Vanderbilt’s claws came out.
For nine minutes, the Commodore defense allowed the orange and blue only one goal. UF’s aggression heated up, and the team was awarded 17 fouls in the first stanza.
But Florida headed into the field house with an 11-3 lead that soon doubled.
Midfielder Paisley Eagan collided with attacker Brianna Harris in the draw circle prior to the second half. Eagan returned eager to help her team win.
But Vanderbilt wasn’t going down without a fight. While Kavanagh claims the most draw controls in Florida’s 12-year program history, Gross won the draw to get the second half started.
A dangerous follow-through on a shot from attacker Elizabeth Scarrone earned her a yellow card. And the yellow cards continued to roll in.
As the clock winded down, the intensity increased. Pavinelli and attackers Kassidy Bresnahan and Grace Haus finished the game with hat tricks.
Two players down, the Gators clashed as the Commodores turned on their jets. Attacker Kate Murphy sprinted from the 12-meter fan to stun goalkeeper Sarah Reznick as the final buzzer sounded.
Vanderbilt left the ‘Diz with a bitter taste in its mouth. Chants of “It’s great to be a Florida Gator” sounded throughout the crowd as UF wrapped up the sweep.
Florida coach Amanda O’Leary said she was proud to walk away with the victory this weekend.
“Vanderbilt is a great team, and they came out and played hard from the jump,” O’Leary said.
She spoke highly of her all-conference and all-American senior class.
“I am very honored to be able to coach this senior class,” she said. “They have done such an amazing job here over the course of their careers.”
Florida heads to Norfolk, Virginia, to face Old Dominion Friday. Opening draw is set for 3 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.