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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Florida defeats North Carolina in First Round of NCAA Division I Tournament

The Gators avenged their Feb. 17 loss to North Carolina

Freshman defender Ashley Dyer runs up the field during the Florida Gators’ Lacrosse game against the Jacksonville Dolphins on Wednesday, February 28. Photo by Ryan Friedenberg
Freshman defender Ashley Dyer runs up the field during the Florida Gators’ Lacrosse game against the Jacksonville Dolphins on Wednesday, February 28. Photo by Ryan Friedenberg

On Feb. 17, the Florida Gators lost a road match 19-10 against the then No. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels.

Since then, Florida lacrosse has been unbeatable.

The No. 10 Gators (18-2, 6-0 AAC) avenged their most recent loss resoundingly Friday evening, cruising to a 17-8 win over North Carolina (10-7, 6-3 ACC) in the First Round of the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Tournament.

The win marked Florida’s 18th straight victory to extend the longest winning streak in the nation.

The Gators came out of the gates strong in the first quarter, outscoring the Tar Heels 5-2.

Florida redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Elyse Finnelle saved five of the seven shots she faced on goal in the period, while five different Gators hit the back of the net.

In the second, the Gators continued their momentum, scoring the first two goals of the period.

Notably, Florida senior attacker Maggi Hall scored her 50th goal of the season to tally her 100th point.

Hall became the second Gator in history to reach the century mark with her goal, and she now sits at 102 points on the year after her second-consecutive hat trick.

Despite the Tar Heels scoring the next three goals in the period, the Gators responded with four more goals before the half to make the score 11-6.

With Florida up five at the half, the third quarter was low scoring as Finnelle saved four more shots while the Gators snuck two goals into the Tar Heels net.

One of Florida’s goals came from junior midfielder Josie Hahn on the man advantage after a UNC yellow card. She later scored two more goals in the fourth to earn a hat-trick.

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Florida graduate student Emily Heller completed her hat trick on a free-position shot in the fourth quarter and claimed her second consecutive three-goal game.

Heller also racked up a hat trick in the previously mentioned Feb. 17 contest against UNC.

UF held the Tar Heels to two goals in the second half as Finnelle shut the door. She saved 14 of North Carolina’s 22 shots on net.

Ultimately, the strong defensive effort did the job for Florida as it cruised to a nine-goal win.

Other standout performers for the Gators were senior attackers Danielle Pavinelli and Ashley Gonzalez, who scored four and five points respectively in the match.

Florida senior attacker Liz Harrison racked up seven of UF’s 19 draw controls.

The Gators will face Virginia in the Second Round of the tournament Sunday at 1 p.m.

Contact Max Bernstein at mbernstein@alligator.org. Follow him on X @maxbernstein23.




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