On a day the radio announcer described as gloomy, Florida and its fans were still able to find something to cheer about on Saturday afternoon in Ohio. As the clock hit 0:00, you could hear the song “We are the Boys from Old Florida” being sung in the stands at Columbus.
The No. 5 Gators (10-2, 1-0) were looking to win their first American Lacrosse Conference game on Saturday, and they were able to hold off the No. 15 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-2, 0-1) to win 10-8.
The Buckeyes scored the first goal, but the Gators responded with three goals to make it 3-1. Their lead didn’t last long though as Ohio State scored twice in the next three minutes to tie it at 3-all. Florida freshman Nora Barry scored before the end of the first half to give UF a 4-3 lead.
Barry continued her stellar play with the first goal of the second half. The Buckeyes responded with a goal to reduce Florida’s lead to 5-4. Barry scored two goals, both off of a foul, to increase the Gators lead to 7-4.
Ohio State brought it back to only a two-goal deficit multiple times, but they weren’t able to get over that hump to make a complete comeback.
The game was even throughout the match. Ohio State had 19 ground balls and the Florida had 20. The Buckeyes had eight draw controls, while the Gators had 12. It was a give-and-take game with many fouls and turnovers, but the Gators powered through to win.
Florida outshot Ohio State 27-21. With the Buckeyes double-teaming the goal-scoring-leaders Kitty Cullen and Gabi Wiegand, the Gators needed productivity in other players this afternoon. The rest of the team responded by having six different players score goals.
Barry was the story for the Gators on Saturday, scoring four goals on five shots. She was given two free-position shots and scored on both. Also, Gilroy had two goals and an assist. On a Florida team that relies on scoring, the freshmen scored six of their 10 goals.
The Gators have been averaging league-best 16.72 goals per game coming into Saturday, and the Buckeyes held them six goals under their average. The Gators also were averaging a league second-best 6.58 goals allowed per game, and the Buckeyes responded with eight goals to best that average. Still though, it wasn’t enough to beat this elite Florida team.
Kristen Donahue led the Buckeyes with four goals in the game, and Jackie Cifarelli got two goals for herself along with two assists.
Goalkeeper Mikey Meagher had another phenomenal game for Florida. She allowed eight goals in the game, while recording seven saves. She also picked up career-best six ground balls, which was a season-high for a Florida player. She played all 60 minutes for the Gators and recorded the win.
The Florida Gators will hope to ride this streak through Wednesday night against Fresno State in Gainesville. This will be the Gators last non-conference game before they play a string of four Top 20 opponents in their conference. The game will be at Dizney Stadium, and the opening draw will be at 6:30 p.m.
Follow Gator Country Reporter Max Mattern on Twitter @MaxMattern