Graduate student midfielder Kaylon Buckner scored for Arizona State to tie the game at four in the second quarter. The Sun Devils battled back from a 4-1 deficit in the first quarter to put the top-ten Gators on the ropes.
Arizona State kept the game competitive, but Florida had enough to outlast the visitors from the desert and secured another early season victory.
The No. 7 Florida Gators (3-2) defeated the Arizona State Sun Devils (1-3) 17-12 in their fifth game of the season. Head coach Amanda O’Leary knew this would not be an easy win.
“You have two very competitive teams competing as hard as possible,” she said. “I’m just glad we came out with a win.”
Senior midfielder Emily Heller won the first draw of Sunday’s game. Shortly after, Heller witnessed a foul on ASU freshman defender Colleen Ryan and scored the first goal off a penalty shot.
Florida redshirt senior midfielder Paisley Eagan won the following draw.
Sun Devils goalkeeper Katie Vahle successfully cleared the ball toward the Gator's defensive side after Heller shot wide on goal.
UF redshirt junior goalkeeper Sarah Reznick saved a shot by Arizona State fifth-year midfielder Kaylon Buckner and cleared the ball back to the Gators’ offense.
Florida senior midfielder Shelton Sawers carried the ball upfield, where junior midfielder Madison Waters then found sophomore attacker Emma LoPinto for the game's second goal.
The Sun Devils scored their first goal against UF off a turnover by Florida fifth-year attacker Tayler Warehime.
The Gators struggled to put another goal in the net for the next four minutes.
Florida regained its footing after a successful clear by Reznick. The Gators passed the ball around the 12-meter line until redshirt senior midfielder Paisley Eagan found junior attacker Maggi Hall for a behind-the-back shot.
Sawers won the following draw.
Ryan fouled and received a yellow card, which left UF a man up and gave Florida junior attacker Danielle Pavinelli a free-position shot.
Pavinelli shot high on frame and missed, but ASU sophomore Berit Brookfield committed a foul and gave a penalty shot to UF junior attacker Maggi Hall. Hall scored, and the Gators led 4-1 at the end of the first quarter.
The Sun Devils took control at the beginning of the second quarter with three consecutive goals to tie the game at 4-4.
Florida answered back when junior attacker Ashley Gonzalez assisted Warehime to put the Gators back in the lead.
LoPinto and Pavinelli each scored again at the bottom of the second quarter. The Gators entered halftime up 7-4.
Arizona State scored first in the third quarter off a failed goal attempt by Eagan and a save by Vahle. After Heller shot high on frame and missed, Warehime won the ground ball and found Madison Waters for the Gator's eighth goal.
Pavinelli recovered quickly and won the ground ball after she had an attempt to score. She passed the ball to redshirt senior midfielder Emerson Cabrera, who assisted sophomore midfielder Josie Hahn in scoring.
Florida freshman attacker Ava Tighe immediately picked up the groundball and scored after a failed shot attempt by Heller.
The Sun Devils began to close the gap and scored the next three goals.
The Gators answered with an assist from Eagan to Gonzalez, followed by a second goal by Pavinelli to give Florida a 12-8 lead.
Arizona State scored the last goal of the third quarter off a foul on Waters.
Hungry for points, Heller scored the first goal of the fourth quarter off a draw control by fifth-year midfielder Emily Diaz. Senior midfielder Sarah Mackey won the draw, and Heller recorded another goal to maintain Florida's 14-9 lead.
Gonzalez received a free position attempt off a foul on ASU sophomore Helen Park. Gonzalez decided to fake out the Sun Devils’ goalkeeper and pass the ball behind the crease to Hall to score another goal for the Gators.
Tighe and freshman attacker Gianna Monaco scored the next two goals for Florida.
ASU scored twice in the last two minutes of the game, but the Gators won with a final score of 17-12.
Florida will next play the Loyola Greyhounds at Donald R. Dizney Stadium at noon March 11. The game will be streamed on ESPN+.
Contact Kate Wiggins @email@example.com. 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.