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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Florida beats Vanderbilt behind season-high score in regular season home finale

Gators built a 16-point lead in senior sendoff

Florida attacker Tayler Warehime stands near Maryland's goal during the Gators' 14-13 loss to the Terrapins Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.
Florida attacker Tayler Warehime stands near Maryland's goal during the Gators' 14-13 loss to the Terrapins Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023.

With four minutes left in the final quarter, fifth-year midfielder Emily Diaz won the draw and went straight to the goal for the Gators’ 21st point of the day. The goal gave UF its highest-scoring game of the season in its regular season home finale.

The Florida Gators (12-3, 4-1) beat the Vanderbilt Commodores (3-11, 1,4) 22-6 Saturday afternoon. Already in high spirits, the team gathered after the game to honor its graduating seniors. 

Vanderbilt won the opening draw but quickly lost possession after senior defender Catherine Flaherty caused a turnover on the Gators’ defensive end. 

Flaherty passed the ball upfield to junior attacker Maggi Hall, who found senior midfielder Emily Heller to secure the first goal of the day. Redshirt senior midfielder Paisley Eagan controlled the following draw and quickly passed it to Heller to put a second point on the scoreboard. 

Flaherty fouled Vanderbilt senior midfielder Paige Finneran on defense. Finneran received a penalty shot and scored the Commodores’ first goal. 

Junior midfielder Madison Waters got aggressive on defense and caused a turnover on Vanderbilt sophomore midfielder Josie Ward. Waters sprinted upfield and executed a give-and-go with junior attacker Danielle Pavinelli to push UF’s lead to 3-1. 

Starting from behind the cage, sophomore attacker Emma LoPinto followed Water’s goal with a sneaky shot carefully placed behind the goalkeeper. LoPinto scored again shortly after off a failed clear attempt by Vanderbilt. 

The Commodores won the resulting draw and maintained possession on their offensive end for a brief period of time. Florida senior defender Becky Browndorf eventually caused a turnover and successfully worked the ball upfield to LoPinto. The sophomore attacker waited until Eagan cut away from Vanderbilt’s defense to pass the ball to her for the score. 

Pavinelli drew a shooting space call and received a penalty shot. She pivoted and got rid of the ball so Florida’s offense could work the ball around. LoPinto gave the ball back to Pavinelli for another score. 

Hall finished the first quarter with a careful assist to fifth-year attacker Tayler Warehime, who executed the shot through traffic. 

Vanderbilt won the first draw of the second quarter and immediately went to goal. The Commodores scored again on the following play and moved the score to 8-3. 

Florida answered with a successful clear from redshirt junior goalkeeper Sarah Reznick to freshman defender Theresa Bragg. Hall then assisted LoPinto — who shot behind the back. Waters and Eagan scored the next two goals for Florida. 

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Vanderbilt responded when it created traffic in front of Reznick and snuck around the crowd for a score. 

The Gators ended the first half up 14-4. Florida was the only team to score in the third quarter. Junior attacker Ashley Gonzalez, Pavinelli, Hall, and Heller each scored one goal to create an 18-4 lead by the end of the third period. 

The Gators’ second string entered the game during the fourth quarter. Senior attacker Janine Suris assisted senior attacker Madison Rielly for Florida’s first goal of the final period. 

After Vanderbilt answered with a goal, junior midfielder Kelly Schluederberg found senior attacker Jill Quigley to record the 20th point for the Gators. 

Florida fifth-year midfielder Emily Diaz won the following draw and went straight to goal to surpass 20 UF goals in the game. Quigley assisted senior midfielder Sarah Mackey for Florida’s 22nd and final goal of the day. 

The Gators will next play the Jacksonville Dolphins at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Jacksonville, Florida. 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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