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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Florida ends season in last-second loss to Notre Dame

The Gators fell to the Irish on a game-winning goal with 10 seconds left in the contest

<p>Redshirt sophomore Sarah Reznick, from Long Beach, New York, forwards the ball to midfield in a home matchup with the Liberty Flames. Reznick was named to the AAC All-Tournament team.</p>

Redshirt sophomore Sarah Reznick, from Long Beach, New York, forwards the ball to midfield in a home matchup with the Liberty Flames. Reznick was named to the AAC All-Tournament team.

After tying the game in the last minute, the Gators lost in the last ten seconds to the Fighting Irish. The close game came to an end after Notre Dame gained draw control in the seconds to remain, stripping UF of any chance to pull off a miracle.

The No. 6 Florida Gators (17-4, 5-1 AAC) lost to the No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (15-5, 6-3 ACC) 16-15 Sunday in the National Collegiate Athletics Association Women’s Lacrosse Championship tournament.

“To play a team like that, who is so good, you need to play a full 60 minute game,” Florida head coach Amanda O’Leary said. 

Notre Dame scored the first goal of the game after gaining draw control. However, the Gators quickly showed their opponent this would be a close matchup and scored three consecutive goals in the minutes that followed. 

Florida senior Emily Heller scored the first goal for UF in the 11th minute. Following was a goal from Gators junior Ashley Gonzalez fed by her teammate junior Maggi Hall. The third goal was from Florida sophomore Emma LoPinto. UF took an early 3-2 advantage through the first period. 

Notre Dame junior Aline Maseker defended well against Florida junior Danielle Pavinelli in the second period’s seventh minute. However, she was unsuccessful. Pavinelli tied the game, 5-5.

The Fighting Irish stepped up and put three more goals on the scoreboard. The half concluded with Notre Dame in front, 8-5.

UF gained draw control to start the second half. Hall was the first to put a ball in the back of the net off of a free position shot. It marked her 45th goal of the season. The teams were back-and-forth for the rest of the third period keeping the score close.

Notre Dame senior Kasey Choma followed Hall's goal with one of her own. Shortly after was another goal from Heller, and two more from the Irish. 

Hall and LoPinto scored the last three from UF, but Notre Dame still led at the end of the period, 12-10.

With 15 minutes left, it became a one goal game.

Choma was the first to score. UF responded less than a minute later. Florida junior Madison Waters scored off an assist from LoPinto with 13 minutes remaining.

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Hall and LoPinto scored again and Pavinelli tied the game at 15-15 with a minute left.

Choma broke the tie and scored with ten seconds on the clock to put Notre Dame in front, 16-15. The Irish won the draw control seconds later and the game was over.

Notre Dame’s women’s lacrosse team will advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals and for the first time since 2019, Florida won’t.

Contact Madilyn Destefano at mdestefano@alligtor.org. Follow her on Twitter @DestefanoMadi.

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