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Thursday, May 23, 2024

Florida falls apart in second half of loss to James Madison

Gators lost control in fourth quarter against the No. 7 Dukes

Florida midfielder Madison Waters carries the ball in her crosse in the Gators' 14-13 loss to the No. 6 Maryland Terrapins Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.
Florida midfielder Madison Waters carries the ball in her crosse in the Gators' 14-13 loss to the No. 6 Maryland Terrapins Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.

The Gators led 9-8 in the third quarter and were set to take down James Madison. However, UF fell short, and the Dukes gained a five-point lead to win Saturday’s game. 

The No. 8 Florida Gators (5-3) lost to the No. 7 James Madison Dukes (8-1) 14-9 in a top-ten battle. JMU proved its spot in the rankings and came out on top after it played three quarters of catch-up. 

After Florida junior attacker Liz Harrison won the first draw, neither team scored until the 11-minute mark. Dukes junior attacker Isabella Peterson found freshman midfielder Brianna Mennella to score the first goal.

UF kept its cool and maintained good defense. Gators redshirt senior goalkeeper Sarah Reznick saved two goals before sophomore attacker Emma LoPinto scored the first point for UF. 

James Madison senior attacker Tai Jankowski fouled twice in a row and received a green card, temporarily taking her out of the game. LoPinto took advantage and snuck around the crease to take the lead, 2-1. 

Both teams settled in and went shot-for-shot for the remainder of the first period. 

Junior attacker Maggi Hall found junior attacker Danielle Pavinelli to give the Gators a 3-2 lead before the second quarter. 

Florida struggled in the first portion of the second quarter and let James Madison score two consecutive goals to put the Dukes ahead 4-3. 

JMU junior defender Nicholle Marshall received a yellow card. Hall then took a penalty shot and tied the game at four. Hall continued with a feed to LoPinto to open a two-point lead. 

Pavinelli drew a shooting space call and scored off the free position shot to move the Gators’ lead to 7-4. The Dukes answered with two consecutive goals to bring the score back within one. 

Freshman defender Theresa Bragg was on the sidelines for a previous yellow card when a cover was called against Pavinelli, and the Dukes found an opportunity to score. 

Florida was tied at seven with James Madison at halftime. The game slowed down and both teams tightened their passes in the third quarter. Senior midfielder Emily Heller broke the standing tie with a penalty shot. 

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JMU redshirt senior goalkeeper Molly Dougherty cleared the ball, and the Dukes’ attack carefully passed it around in an attempt to find an open shot on the Gators’ defense. James Madison scored with four seconds left on the shot clock to tie the game at eight. 

Florida junior midfielder Madison Waters bounced the ball into the net to break the tie. However, Florida’s lead didn’t last long, and James Madison tied the game at nine shortly after.

JMU scored the next goal and put the Dukes ahead 10-9 — their first lead since they held a 4-3 advantage in the second quarter. 

The Gators entered the final quarter down by one. 

Eager to catch up, Pavinelli got caught with a dangerous shot and was taken out of the game on a yellow card. 

JMU had an extra player and scored the first goal of the period with only six minutes remaining. The Dukes witnessed another goal shortly after.

Florida never caught up with James Madison and lost by a final score of 14-9. 

The Gators will next play the Mercer Bears in Macon, Georgia, at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be streamed on ESPN+. 

Contact Kate Wiggins Follow her on Twitter @katewigginz.

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Kate Wiggins

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.

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