The Florida women’s lacrosse team earned its first conference win of the 2023 campaign against the Cincinnati Bearcats.
The Gators won 20 of the 27 faceoffs against the Bearcats. They scored eight straight goals in the first quarter to force the clock to run for the majority of the game.
The No. 8 Florida Gators (7-3, 1-1 AAC) dominated against the Bearcats (8-4, 1-1 AAC) and won 20-5 Saturday.
Florida pulled ten goals ahead of Cincinnati in the first quarter to force a running clock. It took an early 11-1 advantage and maintained it for the rest of the game.
The Bearcats stepped up their defense in the second. The two teams' stayed mostly stagnant in the period. The half concluded with the Gators in front, 12-1.
Florida senior midfielder Emily Heller scored three goals in the first half for her third hat trick of the season. Heller now sits at 20 goals this season.
Gators redshirt senior goalkeeper Sarah Reznick made four saves in the first half.
UF fifth-year midfielder Emily Diaz kicked off the second half with a faceoff. The Gators got draw control, which resulted in a goal by junior midfielder Madison Waters.
Heller committed back-back fouls, and tension built between the Gators and Bearcats. Cincinnati’s free position shots were unsuccessful, but they regained possession behind the goal. Sophomore Kylie Gioia then scored to bring the Bearcats within nine points.
The Gators recovered after Cincinnati senior defender Dani Mlkvy committed a foul. Florida junior attack Maggi Hall scored off the free position shot, marking her 21st goal of the season.
With about seven minutes left in the third quarter, players from both teams went down just outside the goal circle. Cincinnati senior defender Sophia Finotti received a yellow card. UF took the free position shot, the Bearcats’ goalkeeper prevented the goal.
Despite the save, the Gators slowly pulled away. UF led by 12 points at the end of the third quarter.
Florida redshirt freshman Elyse Finelle replaced Reznick at the beginning of the fourth and saved a shot immediately. Finelle passed the ball, and the Gators moved it up the field for a score.
The Bearcats huddled up, and their frustration showed as they substituted players.
The Gators put two more points on the scoreboard to make the score 20-4. Cincinnati huddled up again and substituted three more players.
Cincinnati junior midfielder Ava Goeller scored the final goal of the game with one minute left. The Gators ended the game with a 20-5 victory over the Bearcats.
Florida will play No. 20 Penn State at noon April 1 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
Contact Madilyn Destefano at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @DestefanoMadi.