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The Florida lacrosse team celebrates a goal in the Gators' 17-8 win against the Michigan Wolverines Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023
The Florida lacrosse team celebrates a goal in the Gators' 17-8 win against the Michigan Wolverines Sunday, Feb. 12, 2023

A spot in the National Championship game of the NCAA Division I Women’s Lacrosse Tournament stood on the line Friday, as the Florida Gators lacrosse team looked to reach its first-ever title game.

In a matchup with back-and-forth action, including seven yellow cards and a 55-minute rain delay, the No. 10 Gators (20-3, 6-0 AAC) ultimately fell short 15-11 to No. 1 Northwestern (18-2, 5-1 B10), the defending NCAA champions.

The loss ended Florida’s nation-best 20-game winning streak, while the Wildcats continue to defend their title Sunday in the National Championship game against either Boston College or Syracuse.

The Gators opened the scoreboard when senior attacker Danielle Pavinelli scored her 55th goal of the season to give Florida an early lead.

Later in the quarter, however, the Wildcats claimed the lead behind sixth-year attacker Izzy Scane, who scored her 80th goal of the season.

Down 3-2 heading into the second quarter, Florida responded quickly behind senior attacker Maggi Hall, who put together a hat-trick after she converted on two free-position shots in the period.

However, the Wildcats kept their lead intact behind two more goals from Scane, as well as two goals from sophomore attacker Madison Taylor, which allowed Northwestern to head into the half up 7-6.

In the third quarter, Taylor added another two goals to bolster the Northwestern lead, before Hall and Pavinelli both evened up the score at nine-apiece.

Northwestern graduate midfielder Lindsey Frank scored the Wildcats’ 10th goal of the game with seven minutes remaining in the third quarter. The remaining minutes of the quarter went static.

Heading into the fourth quarter, a weather delay stopped the game in its tracks. After almost an hour of waiting, the skies cleared, and both sides geared up for the ultimate quarter.

And out of the delay, the Wildcats turned it up a notch, outscoring the Gators 5-2 in the fourth to secure the victory.

The Wildcats scored the first four goals of the period, the last of which gave Taylor her fifth of the day. Following Taylor’s goal, the Gators made a change in net, replacing redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Elyse Finnelle with senior goalkeeper Georgia Hoey.

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Despite strong responses from Pavinelli and Hall, who had three and five goals for the Gators respectively, the deficit sat too deep for the Gators

Florida ultimately fell short in its quest to reach its first-ever title game.

The Gators will now head into the offseason after the winningest season in team history, looking to improve their squad to ultimately reach their first National Championship.

Contact Max Bernstein at Follow him on X @maxbernstein23.

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