Shannon Kavanagh

It took 42 seconds for freshman attacker Kaala Puglisi to open today’s scoring.

Following a miss by Emerson Cabrera, she returned the ball inbounds behind the crease and she was immediately presented with a one-on-one matchup against Kennesaw State midfielder Roslyn Talbert. A quick split dodge as she accelerated towards the goal gave the Annapolis, Maryland, native all the separation she needed to round the corner and slip the ball past KSU goalkeeper Alex Bunn. 

What started with a bang ended in a blowout as No. 8 Florida rolled by Kennesaw State 21-6 on the road. 

After the game, coach Amanda O’Leary called the team’s performance a true team win, per a release. 

Puglisi ended with two goals, bringing her season point total to five. 

Leading the Gators offensively was redshirt junior midfielder Brianna Harris, who ended the contest with five points off a hat trick and two assists. After scoring her first two goals of the season Saturday, Grace Haus led the team with four today. Shannon Kavanagh once again had a dominant all-around game as she finished with a hat trick and six draws controlled. 

UF’s season-high 21 goals came with ease as the Owls’ defense at times looked incapable of defending ball-carriers, leading to several one-on-one opportunities to score. Florida had eight assists today. 

After KSU midfielder Sienna Gore scored the Owls’ first goal after nearly 12 minutes of gameplay, the two teams traded goals until a 5-0 run, led by two from Haus, sealed Kennesaw State’s coffin. 

The rest of the game featured the Gators on cruise control; the starters were allowed to rest in preparation for Saturday’s game against No. 3 Stony Brook, and the defense flourished. 

Starting goalie Sarah Reznick ended the game with a .636 save percentage and only allowed four goals. 

Kennesaw State’s top goal scorers, sisters Sienna and Marissa Gore were limited to three goals on 11 attempts. Florida finished with five caused turnovers, two from senior defender Cara Trombetta, and 15 ground balls. 

O’Leary has commented that every game is an opportunity to learn. Against Loyola-Maryland, UF discovered how its flaws could be exploited. Today, the team likely gained some confidence. 

“We showed a lot of growth, and people stepped up to the plate when they were needed,” O’Leary said. “This was great experience for some of our younger players, who saw solid minutes.”

Follow Christian Ortega on Twitter @unofficialchris. Contact him at [email protected].

Christian Ortega is the lacrosse beat writer for The Alligator. He previously covered recruiting and basketball for Inside the Gators and was the editor-in-chief of Miami Dade College's The Reporter.