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Friday, April 12, 2024

Florida lacrosse captures regular season championship

The No. 9 Florida Gators secured the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament

<p>Florida secured the regular season AAC Championship Saturday in a 16-4 win over the East Carolina Pirates.</p>

Florida secured the regular season AAC Championship Saturday in a 16-4 win over the East Carolina Pirates.

Sophomore attacker Ashley Gonzalez ripped the yellow ball into the back of the polyester net for the second time Saturday to give the orange and blue a 10-0 lead. Florida’s sideline erupted.

With a 16-4 win over the East Carolina Pirates (9-8, 2-3 AAC), the No. 9 Florida Gators lacrosse team (13-4, 5-0 AAC) claimed the American Athletic Conference Regular Season Championship Saturday. The win marked Florida’s ninth undefeated conference season.

UF hasn’t lost a conference game since April 18, 2015.     

The Gators got the ball rolling early. Gonzalez scored the game-opening goal 44 seconds in. 

“We brought a lot of energy out right from the start and it really showed today,” UF head coach Amanda O’Leary said. 

Attacker Emma LoPinto earned her ninth hat trick of the season. The freshman tallied her 49th, 50th and 51st goal of the 2022 campaign. She’s recorded a point in 14-straight games. 

A total of 14 different Florida players found themselves on the scoreboard at Johnson Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina. 

O’Leary praised her team’s performance on both ends of the field, saying it worked effectively. 

The Gators defense restrained the Pirates offense, not allowing the hosts to score the entire first half. For the 42nd time in the program's 13-year history, the orange and blue held an opponent to four goals or fewer. 

UF now holds an 11-game win streak heading into conference tournament play. O’Leary said she hopes the streak lives on during postseason action.

“…we are excited to take this momentum into the postseason,” O’Leary said. 

Florida plays at 4:30 p.m. in the AAC Semifinal game Thursday. The game can be streamed on ESPN+.

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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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