Florida’s net stood alone unguarded.
Goalkeeper Sarah Reznick left her cage wide open. Reznick’s 5’2 frame couldn’t dart down the field fast enough. Attacker Callie Sundin sprinted from Vanderbilt’s defensive end until she reached the restraining line. Sundin wound her stick back and ripped the ball into the back of the polyester net.
The Commodores’ bench erupted in cheers.
Lightning crackled in the Gainesville sky, but the Gators refused to back down.
No. 10 Florida reaffirmed its AAC dominance in a 17-7 win over No. 20 Vanderbilt Friday. UF now holds a one-game lead in the AAC standings and is the unanimous pick to win the conference championship in May.
As the rain poured down, repeated chants of “let’s go Gators,” rang throughout Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Florida sported a 3-0 lead five minutes into the first half.
But the Commodores quickly demonstrated why they entered Gainesville with an undefeated conference record. Midfielder Bri Gross, Vanderbilt’s draw specialist, put the team on the board with a self-assured goal.
Senior Grace Haus recorded two goals in the first half and finished the game with four points.
Shannon Kavanagh, the AAC Preseason Midfielder of the Year, nearly dove into the goal crease to send the ball past goalkeeper Paige Gunning. “Another One Bites the Dust,” blared over the speakers at the ‘Diz as she earned a hat trick to close out the first half.
At the end of thirty minutes, the Gators led by six. And six soon turned into 10.
The AAC foes both strode out of the locker room and their sidelines began to rally their teammates. Florida was led by attacker Maggi Hall and midfielder Paisley Eagan, as each capitalized two minutes into the second stanza.
The AAC Preseason Attacker of the Year, Brianna Harris, earned a hat trick off of a gritty free position. And the goals kept rolling in for Harris. The Annapolis, Maryland, native finished the match with five assertive goals.
The Commodores rediscovered their offensive power in the final ten minutes, but it wasn’t enough.
Attacker Gabby Fornia fought through traffic to stun Gator goalkeeper Julia Hammerschlag as the yellow ball slapped the back of the net.
Shortly after, midfielder Nellie Blaze ripped one into the goal and screams could be heard from Vanderbilt’s bench as they shortened the gap to 10.
But the orange and blue were all-around lights out. Their drive and determination moved them to 7-0 in the conference.
Florida coach Amanda O’Leary said the Gators’ strong start helped them secure the win.
“That is exactly what we wanted coming out of the locker room,” O’Leary said. “Draw controls were a key part of our victory today.”
The Gators look to close out the series with a Senior Day win at the ‘Diz. Opening draw is set for 11 a.m. and the game will stream on the Florida Gators’ YouTube channel.
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.