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Tuesday, February 27, 2024
Florida midfielder Emily Heller throws the ball with her crosse during the Gators' 14-13 loss to the Maryland Terrapins Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.
Florida midfielder Emily Heller throws the ball with her crosse during the Gators' 14-13 loss to the Maryland Terrapins Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.

Paisley Eagan looked up and found Danielle Pavinelli off a penalty shot to record the Gators 12th goal and secure a 10-point lead at the bottom of the second quarter. Florida held onto the lead and finished nine points ahead of Liberty. 

The No. 9 Florida Gators (9-3, 2-1) beat the Liberty Flames (7-5, 3-0) 16-7 Wednesday afternoon in Lynchburg, Virginia. The Gators secured a 10-point lead by the end of the first half. 

Sophomore attacker Emma LoPinto went four-for-four at the top of the first quarter — four shots, four goals.

Liberty junior attacker Kelly Scott connected with senior midfielder Lizzy Ferguson off a successful clear by Flames sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Gallarello in the opening period. The goal put the Flames’ first point on the board with only three minutes left in the first quarter. 

Redshirt senior midfielder Paisley Eagan put one more in the net to end the first quarter. The Gators held a 5-1 lead as the second quarter began. 

Freshman attacker Ava Tighe interrupted Liberty’s clear attempt and passed the ball to junior attacker Danielle Pavinelli for a quick goal. 

Fifth-year midfielder Emily Diaz won the following draw. Junior attacker Maggi Hall received a free-position attempt, but her shot was saved by Gallarello. Hall regained possession and passed the ball to redshirt senior midfielder Emerson Cabrera to maintain Florida’s lead. 

Freshman midfielder Kaitlyn Davies won the next draw. Tighe scored off a penalty when she sent the ball just above Gallarello’s right shoulder. 

Liberty’s attack gained possession of the ball but fumbled it. Senior defender Catherine Flaherty took advantage and successfully connected with LoPinto for a transition score. 

Liberty won the following draw and went straight to the goal. Reznick saved Liberty’s shot attempt and reversed the ball to senior midfielder Emily Heller, who found junior attacker Ashley Gonzalez for Florida’s tenth goal. 

Eagan fouled and gave Liberty its first penalty shot. Junior midfielder Mackenzie Lehman shot low to beat Reznick and record Liberty’s second goal of the day. 

A scoring drought occurred across the next six minutes until a yellow card was drawn against Ferguson. Heller scored off a man-up situation following the call. 

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Eagan found Pavinelli off of a penalty shot to secure a 10-point lead at the end of the second period. 

Florida went scoreless for the first five minutes of the third quarter. 

Pavinelli attempted to score, but her shot was saved by Liberty sophomore goalkeeper Mara Tellers. Pavinelli gave Tellers no space to clear the ball and eventually knocked it loose. She passed it off to fifth-year attacker Tayler Warehime for a goal. 

Florida substituted redshirt freshman goalkeeper Elyse Finnelle in for Reznick. The freshman later allowed Liberty to score, and the Gators finished the third quarter up 14-3. 

Liberty started to bounce back in the fourth quarter. The Flames scored three consecutive goals before freshman attacker Gianna Monaco received a penalty shot and recorded another point for the Gators. 

Liberty scored once more, and redshirt sophomore midfielder Jackie Norsworthy responded with a free-position goal. The Gators finished with a 16-7 victory. 

Florida will next play the East Carolina Pirates at Donald R. Dizney Stadium at noon Saturday. The game will be streamed on ESPN+. 

Contact Kate Wiggins @kwiggins@alligator.org. 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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