The Gators quest for a 12th conference championship in their 13 years as a varsity program got off to a dream start Monday.
The No. 10 Florida Gators (8-4) rolled past the Cincinnati Bearcats (6-7) 19-12 in Nippert Stadium. It was Florida’s sixth-straight win this season and 12th-straight against Cincinnati.
The game was originally scheduled for Sunday, but travel issues forced the teams to reschedule. Thankfully, the sides were able to play the game Monday, with the Gators traveling to southern Ohio via private plane to meet the arrangements.
The extra day of rest and changed travel plans did little to disrupt Florida’s rhythm.
Sophomore attacker Maggi Hall scored her 23rd goal of the season just 40 seconds into the game. Fellow sophomore Danielle Pavinelli made it two for the Gators, capitalizing on an extra-man opportunity.
Despite the early run from Florida, the Bearcats fought to keep it close in the early going. The hosts scored a trio of first-quarter goals, but the Gators held a 5-3 lead heading into the second quarter.
Cincinnati’s offense played admirably, working to keep the lead within reach, but Florida’s goal-scoring prowess proved to be too much.
“[Cincinnati] played us tough and we’re happy to see how our players responded to that,” head coach Amanda O’Leary said.
Pavinelli, who was recently called up to the USA Lacrosse Women’s World Sixes Team, dominated this game. The Northport, New York, product scored four goals and dished out a career-high five assists.
Freshman attacker Emma LoPinto also excelled offensively for the Gators, scoring a game-high five goals and adding a pair of assists. Maggi Hall also finished with yet another hat trick, her fifth game this season with at least three goals.
Despite UF’s offensive dominance, Cincinnati actually outshot the Gators 38-34. Florida goalie and captain Sarah Reznick made seven saves at 41% and sophomore Julia Hammerschlag also made a save in a late-game appearance.
Florida will return home to Gainesville after the three-game road trip Saturday to host Old Dominion at 12 p.m. The Gators then jet back north to Nashville for a matchup against Vanderbilt April 16.
Contact Topher Adams at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Topher_Adams
Topher Adams is a third-year journalism major and the football beat reporter for The Alligator. He also covered Florida lacrosse for the paper and loves watching college football and MLS soccer.