Publisher Profile

THE INSIDER AUTHORITY ON GATOR SPORTS

Kitty Cullen powers Florida lacrosse

Written by max10101, April 19, 2012, 0 Comments,
Print Friendly

Junior Kitty Cullen’s four goals in her first game back after missing two with a concussion proves she’s an impact player. She powered Florida lacrosse’s 13-12 win against No. 19 John Hopkins on April 7.

Rewind to last season when Cullen scored 77 goals, the second best in the country. By season’s end, she racked up multiple awards including the American Lacrosse Conference Player of the Year and First Team All-America Honors from IWLCA, Womenslacrosse.com and Womenslax.com.

She was the driving force for the Florida Gators lacrosse team all season. When she was on her game, the team was on their game. She lead UF to a 16-4 season (5-0 in Southeastern Conference play) along with a second place finish in the ALC tournament and the second-year program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance losing to Duke in the quarterfinals.

Now, back to the present.

Junior Kitty Cullen’s four goals in her first game back after missing two with a concussion proves she’s an impact player. She powered Florida lacrosse’s 13-12 win against No. 19 John Hopkins on April 7.

Rewind to last season when Cullen scored 77 goals, the second best in the country. By season’s end, she racked up multiple awards including the American Lacrosse Conference Player of the Year and First Team All-America Honors from IWLCA, Womenslacrosse.com and Womenslax.com.

She was the driving force for the Florida Gators lacrosse team all season. When she was on her game, the team was on their game. She lead UF to a 16-4 season (5-0 in Southeastern Conference play) along with a second place finish in the ALC tournament and the second-year program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance losing to Duke in the quarterfinals.

Now, back to the present.

Through 16 games, Cullen has 38 goals, which is below her total from last year, yet the Gators may be in a better position than a year ago and only seem to get better and better. 

Cullen and the No. 5 Florida Gators are 14-2 this season and have gone undefeated in conference play thus far with a record of 4-0. This Saturday the Gators will wrap up their regular season with a bang against No. 1 Northwestern (14-0, 4-0). The winner of the game will be the No. 1 seed for the ALC Tournament and will be one of the top seeds for NCAA Tournament. The opening draw will be at 2 p.m.

Comparing Cullen’s current season with her 2011 one, all signs point to a decline especially in the goal department, but that is not the case.

The fact of the matter is that Cullen has matured as a player. She has become the brains of this offensive attack almost like how a point guard would play in basketball. She is able to take the ball, stand 20 meters from the goal and analyze the field. In an instant she can pass the ball to an open player by the net or drive it to goal herself.

“Last year I was just scoring goals. That was really what I did last year,” Cullen said. “This year defenses are coming out and I’m getting double teamed or triple teamed right away so I have to work on learning how to distribute the ball better because I am getting doubled all the time and someone is always going to be open.”

Her ability to distribute the ball to the open player has been what made her fit into that point guard role this year. Already this season, Cullen has 20 assists, which are five more than her freshmen and sophomore season combined.

“She is evolving into that all-around player,” Coach Amanda O’Leary said. “The stats to her freshmen and sophomore years aren’t true to form because she just created those opportunities and was able to score off of them. Now, defenders know who she is and they are sending two or three, so she has been able to find these free players. I think that’s why her assists have gone up.”

Cullen’s leadership role on offense has been the crucial factor to the team’s potent scoring this year. They have been averaging an impressive 17.25 goals per game. This can be attributed to Cullen’s influence of finding the open player rather than forcing a shot.

“Our attack has started coming out on our own and shooting on our own outside of practice which has helped us in finishing,” Cullen said. “We’ve also been disciplined. We’re trying not to just take the first shot or the first option but kind of work it around until we have the perfect shot.”

Cullen stresses the importance of “we” and “our” to make a point that it is a team effort which is the kind of leader any coach wants on the team. At any point though, she will blaze past three defenders in an instant with her jukes, moves, or just plain speed. Most important of all, she will score that necessary goal when her coaches and teammates call her name.

“You want her on your team,” O’Leary said. “You don’t want to try to ever defend her.”

About max10101

max10101 Other Sports
Print Friendly

Junior Kitty Cullen’s four goals in her first game back after missing two with a concussion proves she’s an impact player. She powered Florida lacrosse’s 13-12 win against No. 19 John Hopkins on April 7.

Rewind to last season when Cullen scored 77 goals, the second best in the country. By season’s end, she racked up multiple awards including the American Lacrosse Conference Player of the Year and First Team All-America Honors from IWLCA, Womenslacrosse.com and Womenslax.com.

She was the driving force for the Florida Gators lacrosse team all season. When she was on her game, the team was on their game. She lead UF to a 16-4 season (5-0 in Southeastern Conference play) along with a second place finish in the ALC tournament and the second-year program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance losing to Duke in the quarterfinals.

Now, back to the present.

Junior Kitty Cullen’s four goals in her first game back after missing two with a concussion proves she’s an impact player. She powered Florida lacrosse’s 13-12 win against No. 19 John Hopkins on April 7.

Rewind to last season when Cullen scored 77 goals, the second best in the country. By season’s end, she racked up multiple awards including the American Lacrosse Conference Player of the Year and First Team All-America Honors from IWLCA, Womenslacrosse.com and Womenslax.com.

She was the driving force for the Florida Gators lacrosse team all season. When she was on her game, the team was on their game. She lead UF to a 16-4 season (5-0 in Southeastern Conference play) along with a second place finish in the ALC tournament and the second-year program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance losing to Duke in the quarterfinals.

Now, back to the present.

Through 16 games, Cullen has 38 goals, which is below her total from last year, yet the Gators may be in a better position than a year ago and only seem to get better and better. 

Cullen and the No. 5 Florida Gators are 14-2 this season and have gone undefeated in conference play thus far with a record of 4-0. This Saturday the Gators will wrap up their regular season with a bang against No. 1 Northwestern (14-0, 4-0). The winner of the game will be the No. 1 seed for the ALC Tournament and will be one of the top seeds for NCAA Tournament. The opening draw will be at 2 p.m.

Comparing Cullen’s current season with her 2011 one, all signs point to a decline especially in the goal department, but that is not the case.

The fact of the matter is that Cullen has matured as a player. She has become the brains of this offensive attack almost like how a point guard would play in basketball. She is able to take the ball, stand 20 meters from the goal and analyze the field. In an instant she can pass the ball to an open player by the net or drive it to goal herself.

“Last year I was just scoring goals. That was really what I did last year,” Cullen said. “This year defenses are coming out and I’m getting double teamed or triple teamed right away so I have to work on learning how to distribute the ball better because I am getting doubled all the time and someone is always going to be open.”

Her ability to distribute the ball to the open player has been what made her fit into that point guard role this year. Already this season, Cullen has 20 assists, which are five more than her freshmen and sophomore season combined.

“She is evolving into that all-around player,” Coach Amanda O’Leary said. “The stats to her freshmen and sophomore years aren’t true to form because she just created those opportunities and was able to score off of them. Now, defenders know who she is and they are sending two or three, so she has been able to find these free players. I think that’s why her assists have gone up.”

Cullen’s leadership role on offense has been the crucial factor to the team’s potent scoring this year. They have been averaging an impressive 17.25 goals per game. This can be attributed to Cullen’s influence of finding the open player rather than forcing a shot.

“Our attack has started coming out on our own and shooting on our own outside of practice which has helped us in finishing,” Cullen said. “We’ve also been disciplined. We’re trying not to just take the first shot or the first option but kind of work it around until we have the perfect shot.”

Cullen stresses the importance of “we” and “our” to make a point that it is a team effort which is the kind of leader any coach wants on the team. At any point though, she will blaze past three defenders in an instant with her jukes, moves, or just plain speed. Most important of all, she will score that necessary goal when her coaches and teammates call her name.

“You want her on your team,” O’Leary said. “You don’t want to try to ever defend her.”

Read previous post:
Fans ‘excited’ after Muschamp appearance

Florida coach Will Muschamp spoke to a crowd of about 300 at Thursday's TitleTown Gator Club barbecue.

Close