Florida enjoyed a brief resurgence after a win against Liberty Wednesday, but it only took two days to extinguish. In a rescheduled game versus the No. 9 Loyola Greyhounds (6-0), the No. 12 Florida Gators (2-4) came up short, 12-9 in another ranked matchup.
Florida head coach Amanda O’Leary put her team on a pedestal, despite the tough loss.
“We showed grit tonight after coming from behind to tie the game in the fourth,” O’Leary said. “But credit to Loyola, they controlled the advantage in the draw circle tonight."
The game was supposed to be played Saturday at noon, but inclement weather in Baltimore, Maryland, pushed it up to Friday night, giving the Gators a single day of rest before facing their fourth top-10 opponent of the season.
Both sides struggled to score early, but the Greyhounds eventually found the early advantage, going up 3-0 with 7:59 remaining in the first quarter. Freshman midfielder Josie Hahn and junior midfielder Paisley Eagan got two goals back for the Gators, before the two sides traded goals to close the quarter.
The defensive battle continued into the second quarter, where the teams combined for two goals. Both goalies played a part in that defensive performance, with three saves each in the quarter. Florida failed to capitalize on several opportunities in the second period, going scoreless on four free-position shots.
It was a competitive, one-score game exiting the halftime break, with freshman attacker Emma LoPinto tying the game at five early into the third quarter. Loyola responded with a 3-0 run to put the Gators on the brink.
Late in the third quarter, Loyola was in full control, before redshirt junior midfielder Emerson Cabrera scored with just 26 seconds left in the quarter to breathe life into the Gators. UF took its new lease on life and scored two goals early in the fourth quarter to tie the game again.
The latest resilient comeback from Florida would also be its last. Loyola’s defense clamped down, shutting out the Gators the rest of the game. The Greyhound offense capitalized on Florida mistakes to rebuild the lead and put away the visitors.
Sophomore midfielder Danielle Pavinelli had her least-productive game all season, finishing with just one goal. Loyola also locked down LoPinto, who scored a lone goal after a nine-point game Wednesday. Senior goalie Sarah Reznick also had a disappointing performance, making five saves at under 30% following an elite midweek showing against Liberty.
Florida closes its top-10 gauntlet Wednesday night at 6:30 p.m., hosting the No. 3 Syracuse Orange at Dizney Stadium.
Contact Topher Adams at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Topher_Adams