UF lacrosse to host Colgate

Since losing an opening-day heartbreaker to No. 5 North Carolina, the Gators (6-1) have been virtually unstoppable on the lacrosse field, upsetting No. 9 Georgetown and winning by an average of 9 goals per game.

Saturday’s game against Temple saw Florida unleash an onslaught of second-half points, including a run of 9 straight, en route to a 19-4 win. The Gators defense was also strong, allowing the Owls to attempt only 14 shots.

Florida sophomore midfielder Kitty Cullen’s five goals gave her 32 for the year, already surpassing her freshman record of 31. 

With the game in hand, Florida was also able to give their freshmen playing time, leading to career days for Hayley Katzenberger who scored her first career goals in the orange and blue and Krista Grabher who also added two scores. 

Florida head Coach Amanda O’Leary says this playing time will be valuable experience for the future.

“There’s nothing better than getting that experience,” O’Leary said. “They need to be on the field in game situations to be able to feel that pressure each and every day. We try to do that in practice, but them coming out here and actually completing the task and completing it well was certainly a testament to their hard work.”

Now the No. 10 Gators look to continue their winning streak when they face Colgate on Tuesday night at 6:30. This game will be a rematch of a double overtime thriller which Florida lost 12-11 last season.

Coach O’Leary says her team remembers the defeat well, but will have to prepare hard if they want to continue their run of success. 

“Yeah we have a little redemption from Colgate,” O’Leary said. “We had a tough loss to them last year so we have some work to do between now and then. But with each team that comes in here we have a bull’s eye on our backs because everyone wants a win here at the swamp. So we just have to play our game and hopefully come out victorious.”

The Raiders (3-3) are led by senior midfielder Colleen Bubnack and Junior midfielder Courtney Miller who each scored 9 points in Colgate’s 19-16 win over Lehigh on Saturday. The Gators will have to defend the tandem well, especially Miller who scored 5 points including the game winning goal in last season’s contest.

With the way Florida has been outscoring opponents it may seem as if their offense is winning the games. However, coach O’Leary says the defense has been equally responsible for their scoring output.

“Our defense has come up with some big stops on a lot of really good players,” O’Leary said. “Our defense is getting the ball into our attackers hands and our attackers are finishing.”

The Gators play at Donald R. Dizney Stadium at Hull Road and Natural Area Drive.

Gator Country reporter Daniel Jennings can be reached at Daniel@gatorcountry.com. You can also follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/DJenningsGC