“Glorious” by Macklemore blared over the speakers at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
The Florida lacrosse team threw its sticks in the air and sprinted to center field.
The Gators won the AAC Championship.
AAC Midfielder of the Year Shannon Kavanagh dashed through the 12-meter fan to stun Owls goalkeeper Shana Hecht. The swift behind-the-back shot slapped the back of the polyester net, the first of six goals for Kavanagh Saturday.
AAC Attacker of the Year Grace Haus followed suit. Haus earned a first-half hat trick off a free position goal. The senior added a fourth goal to display her stellar offensive ability.
“Now more than ever, postseason is crucial,” Haus said. “This conference tournament was really important to us and we were focusing one game at a time.”
The Owls remained scoreless for the first ten minutes of the contest. Midfielder Belle Mastropietro rolled through the eight-meter arc and juked, splitting Florida’s defense to finally put Temple on the board.
The intensity turned up as the clock ticked down. UF led 11-2 at the half.
The Florida sun beat down on the Philadelphia team at the ‘Diz, but the Owls refused to give up. Midfielder Mackenzie Roth fought through the orange and blue defense to fire the yellow ball past goalkeeper Sarah Reznick.
The Gators kept their foot on the pedal.
After a gritty play on the defensive end, attacker Kassidy Bresnahan took the ball off a give-and-go play and ripped a shot past goalkeeper Olivia Martin.
UF coach Amanda O’Leary began to pull her starters in what may have been their last game at the ‘Diz.
“Here we go Gators, here we go,” said the friends and family members in the stands — many sat teary-eyed.
The clock struck zero and all havoc broke loose as the Gators added another trophy to their case.
Defenders Emma Wightman, Cara Trombetta and Kaitlyn Dabkowski each earned AAC Awards.
Kavanagh, Haus and Reznick each received awards as well.
Attacker Brianna Harris claimed the Most Outstanding Player award, along with one other honor with six goals and four assists.
“I’m just so proud of this team,” O’Leary said. “The effort that they’ve put forth since the beginning — I just couldn’t ask for more.”
The NCAA Division I Women's Lacrosse Championships will take place May 28 and 30 at Johnny Unitas Stadium in Towson, Maryland.
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.