The Florida lacrosse team bounced back from a rough start to the 2019 campaign.
It closed out the regular season and conference tournament on an 11-game win streak after losing six out of its first nine games.
UF’s strong finish led to American Athletic Conference championships in both the regular season and in the AAC Tournament.
But the No. 17 Gators fell short of expectations after losing 15-11 to No. 3-seed North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday. Florida has advanced to the national tournament every year since 2011, including a Final Four appearance in 2012, but has never won it in the program’s 10-year history.
Senior attacker Lindsey Ronbeck was at the forefront of a UF attack that finished 10th in the nation in scoring offense (15.43 goals per game). She leads the nation in goals with 89 and is ranked fifth in goals per game at 4.24.
Ronbeck also became the third Gator to break the 200-goal mark, doing so in a 15-8 triumph over Temple on March 30. She ended her career as the second-leading goalscorer in school history with 242. Ronbeck was 14 goals shy of tying the school record held by former midfielder Shannon Gilroy (256).
Sophomore midfielder Shannon Kavanagh will replace Ronbeck as the focal point of the offense next season.
Kavanagh registered 69 goals and a team-high 26 assists throughout the 2019 campaign. Her 95 points were good enough for second on the team behind Ronbeck’s 107.
The sophomore served as Florida’s primary draw taker, too.
She won a team-high 93 draws and led the Gators to 15.14 draw controls per game (20th in the nation).
Junior defender Cara Trombetta was the anchor of UF’s defense this year, starting in every game of the season.
Her team-high 40 caused turnovers gave her 109 for her career. She became Florida’s all-time leader in that category in an 18-9 victory against Vanderbilt on April 6, surpassing former defender Caroline Fitzgerald’s mark of 87.
Senior goalkeeper Haley Hicklen had a busy season in the cage for the Gators.
She recorded a career-high 184 saves but also allowed the most goals in her four years at UF (218).
Hicklen broke former goalkeeper Mikey Meagher’s record of 407 career saves in a 15-12 loss to Loyola on Feb. 23.
Ronbeck, Hicklen, Trombetta and Kavanagh all earned AAC Player of the Year honors for their respective positions. They were also selected to the AAC First Team, along with senior midfielder Sydney Pirreca, sophomore attacker Grace Haus and sophomore defender Sabrina Cristodero.
Although Florida dominated in the AAC, its play did not translate to the NCAA Tournament, once more shattering UF’s dream of bringing home the national title.
Follow Bryan Matamoros on Twitter @bmatamoros_ and contact him at [email protected].