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Wednesday, February 28, 2024
<p>Florida&#x27;s Emily Heller sprints down the field against Mercer May 14, 2021. </p>

Florida's Emily Heller sprints down the field against Mercer May 14, 2021.

The Florida lacrosse team cruised past the Scottish National Team Tuesday night in a unique tran-satlantic exhibition. The game was divided between two halves, each functioning as its own game. 

In the first half, the Gators rolled, taking a 17-2 lead to the locker room. Florida struggled early in the second half, but eventually found its groove, outsourcing the Scots 15-8. 

Overall, it was another complete performance for the Gators as they ease into the 2022 season. 

“We worked on some things that we wanted to see out here tonight, and I thought our team executed pretty well,” head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “It was exciting for us to be able to play an international [team]. They're a great team and just a lot of fun.”

Florida’s big three of Danielle Pavinelli, Ashley Gonzalez and Emma LoPinto ran the show once again.

Gonzalez had the biggest night of the three with four goals and three assists. LoPinto also dropped four goals, while adding an assist. Pavinelli was the quietest of the group, scoring three goals and assisting one. 

The big three got theirs, but it was a total team effort. 21 Gators finished with at least one point across the two exhibitions.  

Before the game, Scotland opened the festivities with an impassioned singing of Scotland the Brave. From the field, the players' voices echoed around the stadium; a special moment for a unique occasion. 

The Scots brought that same energy and fight to the game, but the Gators talent advantage became immediately apparent. UF dominated possession and ripped through the Scottish defense, outshooting the visitors 25-5 in the first half.

Following the break and score reset, the Gators heavily rotated the lineup, giving ample playing time to the reserves. 

Florida lacked the sharpness it showed in the opening half, and struggled at times. At one point, the tartan-clad visitors cut it to a one goal game well into the third quarter. Scotland kept it close for a while, but Florida eventually put the visitors away. 

“I thought we grinded it out. I'm really, really impressed with what we were able to do,” O’Leary said. “Scotland's a great team, obviously they’re a national team and the fact that we came out and played the way we did, I'm really impressed.”

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The Gators previously played against Scotland in 2019. Florida impressed with a 32-1 victory in that exhibition.

Tuesday night’s game was the third of a six game tour across the state for the Scotts, who still have games against the University of Tampa, Florida Southern College and Stetson University. 

The Gators are back in action Saturday. The No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels come to Dizney Stadium for a massive early season test for two squads with national championship aspirations. 

Contact Topher Adams at Follow him on Twitter @Topher_Adams.

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Topher Adams

Topher Adams is a fourth-year communications major and in his fourth semester with the Alligator. He previously covered football, baseball and women's basketball. He also enjoys professional lacrosse and Major League Soccer.

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