Special report on the Florida Gators lacrosse team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – With four true freshmen in the starting lineup, the University of Florida lacrosse team (1-0) opened 2018 with an impressive 16-9 win over No. 17 Colorado (1-1) on Sunday afternoon.
Attackers Kassidy Bresnahan and Grace Haus started their Gator careers with a bang, combining to score four of UF’s first five goals. Shannon Kavanagh made an impact in the draw circle; winning a team-high eight draw controls along with one goal and an assist in her debut.
On the defensive side of the field, freshman Sabrina Cristodero turned in a masterful performance against Colorado’s Miranda Stinson, limiting her to just one goal on 10 shot attempts. Stinson entered Sunday’s game after scoring seven goals in Colorado’s season-opening win over Michigan.
Florida took advantage of a 6-0 run midway through the second half to put the game out of reach, after Colorado had narrowed the score to 9-8 with 18:21 left to play.
Junior attacker Lindsey Ronbeck the Gators with three goals and two assists, while junior midfielder Madi Hall tied her career-high with three goals on just three shot attempts.
The Gator defense held the Buffaloes to a 26% (9/34) shooting clip and forced nine Colorado turnovers. Senior defender Aniya Flanagan caused a career-high four turnovers, and helped limit Darby Kiernan to one goal on five shot attempts.
BIG EAST Preseason Defensive Player of the Year Haley Hicklen anchored UF’s defensive efforts, recording a career-high 14 saves and a .609 save percentage. Hicklen’s 14 saves are tied for the second-most in a game by a Gator goalkeeper.
Eight different Gators scored at least one goal against Colorado, and seven Gators notched an assist. Four freshmen: Kassidy Bresnahan, Grace Haus, Shannon Kavanagh, and Eddy Shoop scored their first point in Orange and Blue.
No. 5 Florida: 1-0 (0-0)
No. 17 Colorado: 1-1 (0-0)
* Head Coach Amanda O’Leary is looking to become just the fifth coach in the history of Division I women’s lacrosse to win 300 games in her career. O’Leary is currently 294-97 in 23 seasons as a head coach.
* Shayna Pirreca (97) and Lindsey Ronbeck (92) are both looking to score their 100th career goal this season.
* Florida owns a 78-12 (.867) record all-time at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
* #PirrecaPower: Pirreca sisters Shayna and Sydney combined to score 19% (3/16) of UF’s goals against Colorado.
“Our team came out and competed extremely hard today. This was an emotional game for us. We asked our team to honor Julia (Sarcona) by playing as hard as they can, and I feel like we accomplished that.
I am very proud of the effort our freshman gave across the board in their first game. Give a lot of credit to Colorado for a great defensive effort, especially in the first half. Today’s win was a great way for us to start our season.
This week we’ll prepare to see an extremely talented Maryland team next Saturday.”
The Gators will host defending national champion, No. 1-ranked Maryland (1-0), on Saturday, Feb. 17 at noon.