Florida lacrosse made a third-quarter comeback attempt against North Carolina Saturday afternoon, with three back-to-back goals within the first five minutes.
The comeback fell short as the Tar Heels never relinquished the lead.
The No. 7 Florida Gators (1-1) were defeated by the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (3-0) 12-5 in the second game of the season. Sitting at No. 2 in total saves in program history, redshirt senior goalkeeper Sarah Reznick made 14 saves against UNC.
The Gators had a strong start against the Tar Heels.
Senior midfielder Emily Heller won the opening draw, followed by a shot on goal by redshirt senior midfielder Emerson Cabrera within the first minute of the game.
After two Reznick saves, UNC scored first with seven minutes left in the first quarter.
UF continued with another draw control by Heller and a turnover by redshirt senior midfielder Paisley Eagan caused by Tar Heels senior Emily Nalls.
Neither Florida nor North Carolina scored again in the first quarter, which left the Gators down 1-0.
Junior midfielder Madison Waters received a yellow card to start the second quarter to give UNC a man-up opportunity. A foul on sophomore defender Alexa Waters then resulted in a free position shot from the Tar Heels. Senior attacker Melissa Sconone converted the shot and put the Gators down 2-0.
UNC scored four uninterrupted goals, and Florida finished the second quarter down 6-0.
Heller kicked off the third quarter by winning possession with a ground ball that resulted in an unassisted goal for the Gators.
Shortly after Heller’s goal, junior attacker Danielle Pavinelli assisted sophomore attacker Emma LoPinto to bring Florida within four. LoPinto scored again off a free position shot to cut the deficit to 6-3.
UNC redshirt senior defender Gabi Hall received a yellow card, putting UF a man-up. Pavinelli assisted LoPinto, who scored and made it 7-4 with just under eight minutes left in the third quarter.
North Carolina answered with two goals and ended the third quarter up 12-5.
The Tar Heels scored three consecutive goals in the fourth quarter, followed by a free position shot by Pavinelli. UNC closed out the game comfortably to give the Gators their first loss of the season.
The Gators will play Maryland at home at Donald R. Dizney Stadium at noon Saturday. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.
Contact Kate Wiggins @firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @katewigginz.
Kate Wiggins is a second-year advertising major and women's lacrosse reporter for The Alligator. Catch her pumping iron at Southwest Rec, double-scooting her friends to class, or dancing around at the nearest EDM concert.