Thursday, May 19, 2016

Maryland remains undefeated

Senior midfielders Bryn Boucher and Taylor Cummings each had hat tricks while freshman midfielder Jen Giles scored twice. Junior midfielder Zoe Stukenberg and sophomore attacker Taylor Hensh each scored one goal. Cummings also posted three ground balls, four draw controls and four caused turnovers. Defensively, senior Alice Mercer led the way with a career-high five caused turnovers and four ground balls. In cage, freshman Megan Taylor made eight saves. Hopkins started the scoring 1:29 into the first half, but the Terps responded with a 4-0 run, including two goals from Whittle. The Blue Jays’ Emily Kenul scored twice to pull within one before Maryland closed the half with another 4-0 run. Cummings, Whittle and Giles all found the back of the net on free-position opportunities in the last 11:11 of the first, and Whittle added another goal to have four in the half. The Terps entered halftime with an 8-3 lead. Cummings started the second half with a goal just 24 seconds in off a low, rolling shot. Boucher was able to score with a swarm of defenders around her to bring the lead to 10-3 at 27:59. Johns Hopkins scored three straight before Hensh stopped the run at 15:15 off a feed from Giles. 
 Cummings scored her third of the game just a minute later before Kenul notched two more for the Blue Jays. Stukenberg and Boucher ended the game with two free-position goals in the last 4:02 as the Terps took the 14-8 win. Maryland outshot Hopkins 30-19 and held a 17-11 advantage in ground balls. Draw controls were even, 12-12.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Gators season ends

 It was a game of inches and seconds Sunday in Florida's NCAA Tournament Second Round game at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Ultimately, the Penn State Nittany Lions (13-6) netted the goal that counted in a 14-13 overtime win against the No. 2 Seed Gators (18-2) to advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals next weekend. A total of 10 ties laced the battle at The Diz as the two teams squared off on a hot day in Gainesville for the right to be one of eight standing following Sunday's games. It took sudden-death overtime to determine the winner and PSU emerged victorious with 2:45 left on the clock. Florida out-shot Penn State, 39-23, and won the draw control battle on the day, 16-14, but the Nittany Lions won arguably the two most important draws in OT. Penn State worked to an 8-7 lead at the half in regulation, just the second time Florida trailed at the half all season (Maryland), but the Gators were up for the challenge. Just 40 seconds into the second half, redshirt senior Tewaaraton Award Finalist Nicole Graziano struck with the equalizer. Penn State didn't back down. The two squads traded scores for a 10-10 tie before PSU went up 12-10, then it was Florida's turn for a three-goal splurge for the 13-12 lead. Jenna Mosketti tied the game 13-13 with 11:21 in regulation. Florida stalled, setting up for the final shot of the game. After an unsuccessful UF free-position attempt with 21 ticks on the clock, freshman Sydney Pirreca had 11 seconds to get a shot off. The dribbler hugged the goal line, flirted with the turf on the other side, toyed with the Gator players and crowd, but was ultimately ruled a PSU save that sent the game into OT.

Monday, April 4, 2016

Florida remains No. 2 after loss over Maryland

On March 28 I drove up to Gainesville to watch the top two women's lacrosse team battle it out. The game took place at Floridas Donald Dizney Lacrosse stadium at noon. With one of the largest audiences in Gator history, the environment was nothing but supportive for the Gators. The result of the game was a game changer for both teams, if Florida won they would be titled number one, with Maryland losing their reign over the lacrosse world. With that being said, the game was intense and emotional with both teams having a winning streak and protecting something valuable. The game started off with Maryland winning the draw thanks to Taylor Cummings one of the best lacrosse players in division 1, earning two tewaaraton awards. The game continued with Maryland winning possession controlling 15 draws to five for the Gators. The Gators played solid defense in the first half, limiting the Terps to a season-tying low of four goals as they stayed within striking distance, trailing 4-2 at the break. The Maryland offense tested the Gator defense by passing between player and player and attacking the goal. Caroline Wannen scored four goals and chipped in three assists for Maryland. Kacie Longo, Jen Giles and Zoe Stukenberg added two goals apiece, as Maryland outshot Florida 31-16. With 21 minutes remaining, Maryland went on an 8-0 run without allowing the Gators to score again until there were just under nine minutes to go. By that time the Terps were up 13-4 and Florida's chances were washed away. With a loss like this comes reflection time. A time where the Gators can focus on the things they didn't do well, and emphasize the things they did. On Florida's to-do list is finding a way to limit the fouls, as the Gators committed 28 to Maryland's nine, which in turn led to seven free positions for the Terps on which they capitalized by scoring four goals.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Gators move up to No. 2 after defeating Syracuse

Florida's Mollie Stevens scored with 1:54 left in overtime to lift the Gators to an 11-10 win over Syracuse in a women's lacrosse game on Tuesday in the Carrier Dome. No. 2 Syracuse dropped to 5-1 while No. 3 Florida improved to 5-0. Mollie Stevens took a pass from Sammi Burgess off a reset and fired it high into the Orange net. Syracuse goalie Allie Murray had to trail the reset play after committing a turnover near midfield because she was still racing behind it when the Orange fouled Burgess, who was sprinting toward an open net. Stevens knocked the ball out of Murray's stick and it was recovered by Burgess. Burgess was off to the races into the Orange end before she was fouled by Brenna Rainone. The win over Syracuse moves Florida up to No. 2 with only one team to beat in sight. This leaves the question of who will face off in the NCAA championship. If Florida remains their No. 2 status before they face of No. 1 Maryland, they have the chance to be the top team in the country. Florida's win over Syracuse puts them in the place for a National Championship.
watch highlights of the game here:

Gators move to No. 3 with win over Dartmouth

Florida and Dartmouth have met four times in history, with UF holding a 4-0 advantage after an 18-10 win last season in Gainesville. The Gators moved up to No. 3 in this week's IWLCA top-20 poll and No. 4 in the Inside Lacrosse media poll after a close win at UNC.
Ten different Gators scored during the Dartmouth game including three goals each from Sammi BurgessNicole Graziano and Mollie Stevens. As No. 3 Florida defeated Dartmouth, 16-6, to move to 4-0 on the season and give head coach Amanda O'Leary her 100th win at the University of Florida. Sammi Burgess scored three of Florida's first four goals of the game in the first 12 minutes to give the Gators a lead of 4-1, and well-balanced attack kept the momentum in favor of the Gators offensively. Sam DarcangeloCarli Marsh and Allie Pavinelli all marked in their first scores of the season, while defender Caroline Fitzgerald also sent in her first goal of the year.
The Gators' high pressure defense helped limit Dartmouth to just three goals in each period. Florida led 10-3 at the half after freshman Lindsey Ronbeck found Stevens for an over-the-shoulder shot right as the clock hit 0. 

watch highlights of the game here:

No. 8 FL vs No. 2 UNC (Feb. 20)

The Gators start their season 3-0 for the second time in the program's young history with a win over UNC. It was a total team effort at Fetzer Field as the No. 8 Gators moved to 3-0 on the season with a 16-15 win over No. 2 North Carolina. Sydney Pirreca scored five goals for Florida, Mollie Stevens scored three goals and Nicole Graziano had two goals and two assists to lead the Gators. In the seven-year history between the Gators and Tar Heels, UF locked up its second win. North Carolina scored the first goal of the game and extended its lead to 5-1 and then again 8-4 before the Gators went on a scoring splurge with final four goals in the first half for an 8-8 tie. The youngest Pirreca had a hat trick in the first half alone and right out of the gates in the second, put the ball in the net for the 8-9 advantage in the second.

Carolina took control early in a two-minute sequence midway through the first half and led at one point by a 5-1 score.  Hendrick scored with 19:18 left in the half, then Tracy got the draw and passed it ahead to McCool for a 3-1 lead with 19:07 left. Just over a minute later, Hazar scored on a free position goal that made it 4-1 and forced a Gator timeout.  McCool completed the 4-0 run with a goal at the 17:38 mark. Florida ended the first half on a 4-0 run, then scored two of the first three goals coming out of halftime.

Friday, February 12, 2016

No.10 Florida VS. No. 13 Loyola

The Florida Gators opened their first game of the season against the Loyola Greyhounds. 
The Gators led with a 15-6 victory over Loyola, with scores coming from four different players. After having doubts about losing their top two scorers, Shannon Gilroy, and Nora Barry, the Gators seem to be doing just fine. The Gators started six seniors, four juniors and two freshmen as midfielder Sydney Pirreca, and midfielder Lindsey Ronbeck made their college debuts. 
The game started off with Florida withstanding a pair of early punches from Loyola. Frankie Kamely scored the game's first goal, and after Florida took a 2-1 lead, Maddy Blakeman's score tied it 2-2. The Gators then responded with three goals in the next 63 seconds to grab the lead for good. Junior midfielder Mollie Stevens answered first, scoring on a pass from Allie Pavinelli, followed by a goal from sophomore Shayna Pirreca. Stevens struck again 14 seconds later to put Florida up 5-2 and forced Loyola coach Jen Adams to call a timeout. Florida's top returning scorer from a year ago, Stevens scored a career-high five goals and extended her school-record goal streak to 26 consecutive games. The Gators show excellent communication within a team, and truly are the definition of teamwork. The ability of the Gators to find their teammates at such high pace moments shows the skills within each member of the team. The Gators have a great season ahead of them!

watch highlights of the game here:

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Florida No.10

Florida remains in the conversation for a national championship, but how will the team cope without its top player and Tewaaraton finalist Shannon Gilroy? Gilroy led Florida in goals (74), assists (24), points (98), shots (146), draw controls (79) and caused turnovers (22). “She is one of our legends of Florida lacrosse. … I don’t think we’re looking to replace her because that’s an impossible task" Coach O'Leary said. Although she is gone, Florida has the potential and athleticism to turn the page with 10 returning starters. Mollie Stevens was second behind Gilroy with 52 points and should take control offensively in 2016. She also tallied 22 ground balls, 19 draw controls and 12 caused turnovers. “She was an integral part of our offense,” O’Leary said. “She has as much of a chance as anybody. She’s very good inside and can dodge from the top, so I think she has a lot of talent that she can exploit defenses.”
UConn was the only conference rival to beat Florida during the regular season. While the Huskies failed to repeat the win in the Big East tournament (a 20-6 Florida win), that one-goal difference, which was also the last game on Florida’s 2015 regular season schedule, will resonate with the returning Huskies. If the Gators don’t remain consistent, this game could determine the beginning in the Big East tournament. While they did win the Big East crown, their play also was very inconsistent. In between losses to North Carolina that ended their season, Florida fell to Syracuse in overtime, Maryland, Stony Brook and Big East rival UConn. This year Florida is ready to bring their absolute best with Mollie Stevens, Lindsey Ronbeck, and Carly Ross.

watch Florida compete against Team USA:

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Who Will Win the Next Title?

 Lacrosse season is right around the corner and I cannot wait to see the top teams in the country battle out for the national title. Last year, the two teams, Maryland, and UNC battled out for the NCAA National Championship. With both teams evenly matched in the skill of the game, Maryland was able to take the win with a final score of 8-9. Both teams are unique in playing style. Maryland plays strictly textbook lacrosse, no fancy tricks, stick skills, or plays. Throughout the game they were consistent in their passing, catching, and settling the ball around the 12-meter arc. With the help of Taylor Cummings, a two-time Tewaaraton trophy winner, and Megan Whittle the team was able to assist and score goals. 

   With the help of their top scorers Maggie Bill and Aly Messinger, UNC was able to get past Marylands solid defense. UNC is more complex in their plays, they handle the ball differently, play more aggressive, and have more complicated ways of settling the ball. As a player, I recognize the strengths and differences of both teams, and while I do not favor one team more than other, I was sad to see UNC's loss. They could have easily won the game if they did not commit so many fouls, especially in the last half with a yellow card being given to their midfielder, causing them to be man-down for a temporary amount of time.

   I am excited to see the top two teams of 2016 battle it out, maybe this time with a different outcome than last years.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Lacrosse 101

Lacrosse originates from eastern Woodlands Native American, being one of the oldest team sports in North America. Originally a male-only sport, it was introduced to women in the 1890's. The rules of women's lacrosse are simple. The games are played with 12 players on the field, including a goalkeeper. There are 4 attackers, 3 midfielders, and 4 defenders. Attackers line up on the opposing team's side of the goal, their main objective being to score goals. The midfielder's play out 3 different role's, the main midfielder takes the draw, controlling the outcome of the start of the game. The other two are a defensive wing and offensive wing playing both sides of the game. The defender's are on the opposite side of the field to the attacker's, protecting their own goal. The game last 60 minutes, with two halves.

 There are two different surroundings around the goal on both sides of the field; the eight-meter arc and the 12-meter fan. When a player commits a major foul inside either of these areas, the offense regains the ball and has a straight shot towards goal. If a player is inside the eight-meter arc for more than 3 seconds, there is a turnover to the other team, the only exception being if there is a player defending an opponent.