Florida Gators lacrosse defeats Princeton at home 16-13

Special report on the Florida Gators lacrosse team:

GAINESVILLE, FLA. – The 13th ranked Florida lacrosse team improved their winning streak to six games, defeating No. 21 Princeton by a score of 16-13 on Wednesday afternoon at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. The Gators improve to 6-2 on the season, while the Tigers drop to 3-3.

Florida never trailed in this one, leading by as many as seven goals. The Gators had seven different goal scorers, and 10 different players record a point overall. Ashley Gonzalez and Danielle Pavinelli had five points apiece, with Gonzalez scoring four goals and assisting on one, while Pavinelli had two goals and three assists. Madison Waters and Gianna Monaco added in hat-tricks each, along with two goals from Emily Heller and a score each from Josie Hahn and Sarah Falk. UF tallied 11 assists. Outside of Gonzalez and Pavinelli, Maggi Hall led the way with three, Emily Heller had two, to go with Hannah Heller and Paisley Eagan having one.

The Gators set season highs in ground balls (22), caused turnovers (12) and draw controls (26), including winning 26 of 31 total draw controls in this game. Liz Harrison continued her stellar season, winning 16 draw controls, which is tied for her second most of the season. Theresa Bragg led the team in ground balls, setting a career high with four. Emily Heller and Hannah Heller led the way for caused turnovers, each forcing two.

Both teams had 27 total shots, along with 20 on frame. Georgia Hoey earned her sixth straight win in net, securing seven saves to go with three ground balls. The Gators earn their first career win over Princeton, now scoring 15 or more goals for the fifth consecutive game.

Coach O’Leary’s Insight
“It was great to see our team close out a tough back-and-forth game. Princeton is a very good team and extremely well coached, so to come out of this game with the win is something we will take. Our draw team had a great day. We had a lot of turnovers, which is something we will really focus on moving forward. We are excited to continue our home stand against Mercer on Saturday.”

How It Happened

*   Florida was able to strike first for the eighth time this season after Pavinelli earned a free position opportunity, and passed it to Monaco for the score at the 13:47 mark.
*   Two more goals came in for the Gators, as Pavinelli scored herself on an eight-meter opportunity, and then dished out an assist to Gonzalez who lofted it into the net to make it 3-0.
*   The Tigers answered with two goals, to make it 3-2 with 9:19 remaining. Florida responded with three goals of their own, one from Waters assisted by Hall, another scored by Gonzalez from Eagan and the last one was an unassisted ripper past the goalkeeper from Emily Heller.
*   Samantha DeVito scored two goals in the last 1:37 to cut into the Gators lead as it was 6-4 after the first.
Second Quarter

*   The Gators outscored Princeton 5-2 in the second quarter, including starting off with back-to-back goals, as Hall found Waters and Monaco for scores to make it 8-4.
*   Following a Princeton goal and Emily Heller having a shot blocked, Pavinelli created for herself, before finding Gonzalez on the edge of the crease for the finish to make it 9-5 with 7:43 left.
*   Princeton scored 31 seconds later, before Falk connected on a free position shot and Emily Heller scored an unassisted goal to give Florida momentum going into half up 11-6.
Third Quarter

*   Josie Hahn connected on her sixth finish of the season, off the dime from Gonzalez to open the second half scoring.
*   A little over a minute later off a Tigers turnover, Hannah Heller had a burst into the attacking third, before finding Monaco for her first assist of the year and Monacos third goal of the game to make it 13-6 with 12:44 remaining.
*   Princeton showed fight, scoring three goals in a three minute and 47 second span to cut their deficit to just four.
*   At the 5:20 mark, Waters scored her third of the afternoon off an eight-meter shot to make it 14-9.
*   Two Tigers goals, with one being a player-up, cut into the Gators lead, making it 14-11 heading into the fourth.
Fourth Quarter

*   Almost five minutes into the frame, Emily Heller made a swim move against her defender, before finding Gonzalez for the finish. It was 15-11 Gators.
*   At the 7:29 mark, off a Gators turnover, Mckenize Blake capitalized making it 15-12. She then scored another goal just over a minute later, pulling Princeton within two goals as 6:27 remained on the clock.
*   The next five minutes and 19 seconds displayed an uptick in physicality, featuring five Princeton fouls, before the Gators put the icing on the cake, as Emily Heller found Pavinelli in front of the net for the finish.
*   The fourth quarter featured 11 total fouls, including seven from Princeton and four from Florida.
Key Notes

*   26 Draw Controls is a program record, previously set against Mercer on May 14, 2021

*   Florida improves to 2-2 on the season against ranked opponents, and 73-50 all-time
*   The Gators earn their ninth straight win in a regular season home game
*   Hannah Heller earned her first career point as a Gator
*   Florida has scored 15 or more goals in five straight games
*   Maggi Hall sits two assists shy of 100 for her career
*   Liz Harrison is one draw control shy of 300 for her career
Season/Career Highs

*   Emily Heller – season high two assists
*   Kaitlyn Davies – season high three draw controls
*   Theresa Bragg – career high four ground balls
*   Georgia Hoey – career high three ground balls
*   Ashley Gonzalez – season high four goals (five points)

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.