It took only 65 seconds for Florida’s lacrosse team to score its first goal of the 2019 season.
Athletes know the feeling all too well.
Senior attacker Lindsey Ronbeck was surrounded by two Colorado players on her way toward the net. With no one to pass the ball to, the 5-foot-5 attacker channeled her inner ballerina with a spin move to split the towering defenders. She then fired a shot past goalkeeper Julia Lisella’s outstretched legs to open the scoring for the Gators.
Ronbeck’s early goal set the pace for the game as No. 6 Florida defeated No. 17 Colorado 16-9 in the season opener for the second-straight year.
UF (1-0) scored five goals in the first 10 minutes of the game. Senior attacker Alix Lopez scored the team’s second goal on an assist from sophomore midfielder Shannon Kavanagh. Less than a minute later, sophomore attacker Grace Haus was celebrating a goal after a free-position shot. Senior midfielder Sydney Pirreca made her way onto the scoresheet with a free-position shot of her own for the Gators’ fourth goal before Ronbeck slotted home the team’s fifth.
The Buffaloes, on the other hand, did not score their first goal until the 16:31 mark of the first half when senior attacker Samantha Nemirov put one past Florida’s senior goalkeeper Haley Hicklen.
Nemirov’s goal seemed to flip the switch for the Buffs, who scored four of the final five goals in the half to cut UF’s lead to 8-4.
Both teams traded goals in the second half like children did Pokemon cards in elementary school.
With 12 minutes remaining in the game, Florida led 12-8. A run of four unanswered goals in the next six minutes, however, stymied Colorado’s attempt at a comeback.
Ronbeck, Kavanagh and Haus headlined a balanced offensive attack for the Gators with four goals apiece.
Defenders Cara Trombetta and Sabrina Cristodero combined for five caused turnovers, while Hicklen recorded nine saves and a .500 save percentage. The AAC Preseason Goalkeeper of the Year is now 16 saves away from the school’s all-time record.
Coach Amanda O’Leary said she was pleased with her team’s performance on the road, but she knows that it will need to be at its best for the first home game of the season on Thursday against Maryland.
“Overall, for our first game, we have a lot to be proud of because Colorado is an outstanding team,” she said in a release. “We definitely have things to work on this week in preparation for No.2 Maryland.”
Follow Bryan Matamoros on Twitter @bmatamoros_ and contact him at [email protected].