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Monday, March 04, 2024

Gators lacrosse claims an abundance of individual honors, but what’s next?

Florida dominated both as a team and individually in 2021, but departing seniors take some fire with them

The Gators huddle in a game against Cincinnati March 28
The Gators huddle in a game against Cincinnati March 28

The Florida lacrosse team racked up several individual accolades and personal highs in its romp to a perfect 10-0 conference record and an NCAA Quarterfinals appearance. 

However, coach Amanda O’Leary loses a one-in-a-million senior class, and the young stars on the Florida squad look to fill their shoes. 

Who’s gone

No Gator decorated her resume more than midfielder Shannon Kavanagh. Kavanagh, who found herself on the US Lacrosse Magazine Preseason All-American First Team heading into 2021, finished the season as the AAC Midfielder of the Year and a five-time AAC Midfielder of the Week. The senior secured a spot as a Tewaaraton Top-25 Nominee.

The captain completed her collegiate career with 200 goals, the fourth Gator to reach the milestone. She recorded a program-record 16 draw controls in round one of the NCAA Tournament and claims the program-record 353 career draw controls. She leaves Gainesville with two more school records as well: a 46-game streak with a draw control and 48 consecutive games with a goal. Kavanagh led the conference with 3.71 goals per game, 4.62 points per game, 7.24 shots per game and 5.48 draw controls per game. She completed the season fourth in the nation with 78 total goals and eighth in total points with 97. Kavanagh finished first on the squad in points, goals, draw controls, shots and shots on goal.

Attacker Brianna Harris began her senior season on the IL Division I Preseason All-America Honorable Mention list. The 2021 two-time AAC Attacker of the Week found herself on the AAC All-Tournament Team. Harris notched a point in 31-straight games and authored separate assist streaks of 15 and 12 games. The attacker is the 10th Gator to record 200 career points and the 14th to score 100 career goals. She hung up her No. 20 jersey with 210 points, 116 goals and a share of the program’s all-time assist mark of 94. Harris ranked second in the AAC in total assists (46), points per game (4.52), total points (95), shot percentage (.538) and free position goals per game (0.95), as well as third in assists per game (2.19) and free position percentage (.606). She rounded out her collegiate career with 49 goals and 46 assists, earning a total of 95 points.

Attacker Grace Haus dominated the AAC Honor Roll selection with five mentions. The senior earned AAC Attacker of the Year honors and made the IWLCA All-South Region.

Haus recorded a career-best seven goals versus Jacksonville May 16. She’s No. 9 in UF record books with 153 goals and No. 11 with 195 points. The Maryland native finished her senior campaign eighth in program history with 335 shots and 242 shots on goal. Haus led in the AAC this season with 1.05 free position goals per game and finished second with 6.33 shots per game and 3.00 goals per game. Haus recorded 63 goals and 18 assists, totaling 81 points in 2021 and closed the year as the 13th Gator to record 100 career goals. 

Defender Cara Trombetta started her fifth year on the US Lacrosse Magazine Preseason All-American First Team and the Inside Lacrosse Division I Preseason All-American First Team. Trombetta made the AAC Honor Roll twice and claimed the AAC Defender of the Week three times. She secured a spot on the AAC All-Tournament Team and was named AAC Defender of the Year. 

The New York native sits first in Florida’s record book in caused turnovers with 149 and second in ground balls with 191. She ranks fifth in the conference in ground balls per game (2.37) and fourth in caused turnovers per game (1.53). Trombetta rounded out her fifth year with 45 ground balls, 29 caused turnovers and three draw controls. 

Senior Kaitlyn Dabkowski held the Gator defense together and made the AAC All-Tournament Team. Dabkowski secured a spot on the All-American Honorable Mention list. 

Dabkowski ranked first on the team in caused turnovers with 32 and tied for second in ground balls with 45. She ranked fifth in the NCAA in caused turnovers, averaging 1.52 per game and eighth in ground balls per game with 2.14. Dabkowski tied for the fifth-longest streak in program history with a ground ball in 16-straight games. The senior finished her collegiate career ranked eighth in the UF record books in caused turnovers with 55. 

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Who’s back?

While the Gators lose the experience of the aforementioned stars, the young players on the team proved this year they can step up to the challenge.

Midfielder Danielle Pavinelli was awarded AAC Freshman of the Year honors after being named the conference’s Freshman of the Week twice throughout the season. The New York native recorded a career-high four goals March 28 against Cincinnati, and she finished with 37 points and 30 goals, both fifth-most on the team. She averaged 1.76 points per game with a shot percentage of .545 and nine draw controls and caused turnovers each. The freshman has a bright collegiate career ahead of her.

Goalkeeper Sarah Reznick began the season on the IL Division I Preseason All-America Honorable Mention list and the Tewaaraton Watch List. The redshirt freshman won the AAC Freshman of the Week five times and was named AAC Goalkeeper of the Year and a member of the AAC All-Tournament Team. 

The redshirt freshman finished the 2021 season ranked first in the nation in save percentage with .567 and goals against with an average of 6.42. Reznick sits first in UF’s record books in saves per game with eight and save percentage with .535. The New York native claims fourth in total saves at Florida with 232 and total wins with 24. Reznick sat first in the AAC in save percentage and goals against average, third in saves per game and seventh in ground balls per game. The goalkeeper is first among active DI players with a 7.80 GAA and closed out the year with 153 saves, a .567 save percentage, a 6.42 GAA, 47 ground balls and one caused turnover. The pipes are in good hands with Reznick.

Attacker Kassidy Bresnahan tied her career-high in points with five against Vanderbilt. The senior recorded a career-high two assists versus the Cincinnati Bearcats in the AAC Semifinal May 6. Bresnahan capped off her Florida career with 25 goals and 11 assists, totaling 36 points. 

Boston College transfer Paisley Eagan recorded a career-high five-point performance against Cincinnati May 6 and ranked ninth in the conference with 32 goals. The midfielder finished the 2021 campaign second on the squad in draw controls with 45, fourth on the team in points (38), goals (32), shots (58) and free position goals (9). No. 38 gloated 38 points on the season, and it’s safe to say Eagan solidified her spot on the Florida squad.

Goalkeeper Julia Hammerschlag totaled nearly three hours in the cage this season. The freshman recorded 12 saves in her 17 appearances, hitting her career-best of two three different times. Hammerschlag saw a career-high 19:58 in the cage against Mercer May 14 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The duo of Hammerschlag and Reznick look to lead O’Leary’s team to victory.

Here is a full breakdown of all the team selections bestowed upon the Gators this season:

IWLCA All-Region First Team: Kavanagh, Trombetta

IWLCA All-Region Second Team: Reznick

IWLCA All-America Second Team: Reznick, Trombetta

IWLCA All-America Third Team: Haus

IWLCA All-South Region Second Team: Dabkowski

IL Women All-American First Team: Trombetta, Kavanagh

IL Women All-American Second Team: Reznick

All-AAC First Team: Trombetta, Reznick, Harris, Kavanagh, Dabkowski

All-AAC Second Team: Pavinelli, Bresnahan, Eagan

While the dominant senior class will never walk the grounds of Donald R. Dizney Stadium again, the underclassmen’s drive, capabilities and statistics look to boost the Gator squad to another NCAA Tournament appearance in 2022. 

Contact Karina Wilson at Follow her on Twitter @kk_rinaa

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Karina Wilson

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.

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