Florida Gators lacrosse wins Big East Championship

Special report on the Florida Gators lacrosse team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida women’s lacrosse team (15-2, 9-0) claimed its seventh consecutive conference championship, and third consecutive BIG EAST Championship, with a 15-3 victory over the Georgetown Hoyas (9-8, 7-2) on Saturday.

After a Hoya goal by Morgan Ryan tied the score at 2-2 with 23:08 remaining in the first half, the Gators went on an 11-0 run spanning over 35 minutes of game action to put the contest away.

Florida’s defense smothered Georgetown all afternoon, limiting the Hoyas to just three goals on 17 shot attempts. Saturday was Georgetown’s lowest scoring output of the season. Junior Aniya Flanagan set a career-high with three caused turnovers, and collected two ground balls as well. The Gator defense has only allowed 4.2 goals per game over its past five contests.

Three hat tricks from Madisyn Kittell, Allie Pavinelli, and Sydney Pirreca led the way for the Gators on the offensive end. Junior Shayna Pirreca added two goals and an assist to round out Florida’s attack.

The Gators played most of the game without leading scorer and draw specialist Mollie Stevens, who received two yellow cards less than 10 minutes into the first half. In her absence, Taylor Bresnahan and Brianna Harris combined for seven draw controls, as Florida edged the Hoyas 11-9 in the draw circle.

Sophomore goalkeeper Haley Hicklen had a fantastic outing in goal for the Gators, tallying nine saves and a .750 save percentage in 58:40. With 122 saves on the season, Hicklen is just 24 away from breaking Florida’s single-season record of 145.

Gators Earn No. 1 Seed

Saturday’s victory means Florida has clinched the No. 1 seed at next week’s BIG EAST Tournament, presented by Jeep. The Gators will play the No. 4 seed, Temple, on May 4 at 4:30 p.m. Earlier this season, the Gators beat the Owls, 15-5.

Records:

No. 2 Florida: 15-2 (9-0)

Georgetown: 9-8 (7-2)

Notable:

*        The Gators have won 20 consecutive BIG EAST games dating back to the 2015 season

*        #PirrecaPower: Pirreca sisters Shayna and Sydney have combined to score 26% (74/285) of Florida’s goals in 2017

*        Shayna Pirreca is just 10 goals away from becoming the ninth Gator to score 100 career goals

*        UF’s defense limited Georgetown to a .176 shooting percentage on Saturday

*        Florida owns a 77-11 (.875) record all-time at Donald R. Dizney Stadium

O’Leary’s Insight:

“I feel like we really came together today and earned a true team win. I’m so proud of how we rallied early on in the game and finished strong… It’s a great day to be a Gator! Our senior class has given so much to this university and this program, I’m happy we were able to send them off with a win. They are truly great people and I feel lucky to be their coach.”

Up Next

The Gators will travel to Philadelphia, Pa., for the 2017 BIG EAST Tournament, presented by Jeep. Florida’s semifinal game will be on May 4, at 4:30 p.m. against the Temple Owls (13-4, 6-3).

Previous articleFlorida Gators take series at Georgia with 6-3 win
Next articleThree straight SEC Championships for Florida Gators softball
Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.