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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Florida lacrosse advances to second Final Four in program history

The Gators will play in the Final Four for the first time since 2012

Senior midfielder Madison Waters goes to pass the ball in the Florida lacrosse team's 21-4 win over Jacksonville University on Wednesday, February 28, 2024.
Senior midfielder Madison Waters goes to pass the ball in the Florida lacrosse team's 21-4 win over Jacksonville University on Wednesday, February 28, 2024.

With a spot in the Final Four of the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Tournament on the line, the Florida Gators lacrosse team came out to make a statement.

The No. 10 Gators (20-2, 6-0 AAC) rolled into their quarterfinal matchup against No. 4 Maryland (14-6, 4-2 ACC) on the nation’s longest winning streak of 20-straight wins. And make a statement it did.

UF cruised to a 15-9 win over Maryland to advance to the Final Four for the second time in program history.

Florida also became the first unseeded team to reach the semifinals of the tournament since 2017.

The Gators came out of the gates strong in the first quarter, outscoring the Terrapins 9-1 to build a lead they refused to surrender.

Florida senior attacker Danielle Pavinelli led the charge with a four-point quarter. Gators senior attacker Maggi Hall set a new school record when she scored her 108th point of the season off an assist from senior midfielder Madison Waters’ 100th career goal.

Hall followed up the assist with a season-high six goal effort in the game to bring her total up to 60 goals and 114 points on the season.

Overall, the Gators put 11 shots on goal in the quarter, and six different players found the back of the net.

The second quarter was quiet on the scoring end as both teams settled into the game but defensively, Florida redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Elyse Finelle shut the door on numerous Maryland scoring opportunities.

She saved seven of the nine Maryland shots on goal in the first half and ultimately saved 10 of 19 in the game.

With the Gators up 10-2 at the half, the Terrapins responded early in the third quarter with four goals, until Hall converted on two free-position shots to bring Florida’s lead to seven.

In the ultimate period, the Gators scored early. Sophomore attacker Gianna Monaco scored on the man-advantage off an assist from senior attacker Ashley Gonzalez.

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The assist was Gonzalez’s 100th of her collegiate career, and she also scored a goal in the first quarter assisted by Florida graduate student attacker Emily Heller.

Heller herself had two goals in the game to tally her season total to 46 goals.

Despite Maryland outscoring Florida 7-5 in the second half, it failed to catch up to the Gators, who rode their strong first quarter to the victory.

The Gators will face the winner of Thursday night’s match between Northwestern and Pennsylvania in the Final Four match May 24 at 3 p.m.

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




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