Special report on the Florida Gators lacrosse team:
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The No. 19 Florida lacrosse team defeated Johns Hopkins 16-9 to move on to face No. 3 seed North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Florida moved to 8-8 in NCAA Tournament play with the win and moved to 6-1 all-time against Johns Hopkins.
Shannon Kavanagh led the way on the offensive front for Florida, totaling eight points on five goals and three assists on the day. Sydney Pirreca and Lindsey Ronbeckeach followed with three goals, while Madi Hall and Brianna Harris pitched in two as well.
The Gator defense was locked in from the start, causing seven turnovers on the day. Caroline Benitez and Cara Trombetta led the way with two caused turnovers apiece. The entire defensive unit held Johns Hopkins to 9-of-27 shooting (.333) on the day as well.
Florida won 15-of-27 draw controls, led by six from Ronbeck. Kavanagh and Sabrina Cristodero also pitched in four draw controls of their own.
Haley Hicklen posted a .471 saves percentage on the day, registering eight saves to secure the victory – the 49th of her career at Florida.
How It Happened
Defense led to offense very quickly in the first four minutes of the game, with Caroline Benitez causing a turnover, which led to a fast break opportunity for Sabrina Cristodero. Cristodero found a cutting Lindsey Ronbeck, who put it gave Florida the 1-0 lead.
Just 13 seconds later, Sydney Pirreca found Shannon Kavanagh, who fired one into the back of the net for the Gators. Pirreca came up with back-to-back cannon shots of her own to put Florida up 4-0 with 24:41 remaining in the first half.
Pirreca continued to remain hot, scoring her third goal of the day to push her to six hat tricks this season. Brianna Harris followed with her first goal of the game, converting on a free-position attempt to put Florida 6-0 with just over 20 minutes to play in the frame.
Johns Hopkins answered back with a 4-0 run of its own to come within two at 6-4. Kavanagh was able to break Hopkins’s scoring streak, recording her 100th career goal in the process. She became just the 12th Florida player to hit that mark and only the second Gator to do so in their first two seasons at Florida.
Madi Hall cut her way through the Blue Jay defense, scoring her first goal of the day to give Florida the four-goal advantage. Hopkins cut Florida’s lead to three with 30 seconds remaining in the frame, but the Gators still held the 8-5 lead going into the locker room.
Coming out of the half, the Gators got on the board quickly after Kavanagh found a cutting Ronbeck for the score, but the Blue Jays quickly cut Florida’s lead to just two at 9-7 with 25 minutes remaining in the game.
Harris got Florida back on track with her second goal of the day, putting the Gators back up by three at 10-7. Kavanagh had a hand in the next two goals, finding Ronbeck on the first of the two to put the Gators up 11-7. Less than a minute later, Kavanagh found the back of the net herself on a pass from Benitez – extending Florida’s lead to five.
After two Florida yellow cards, Johns Hopkins was able to get a man-up goal to come within four at 12-8. The Gators answered with back-to-back scores within 30 seconds – the first of which came one Grace Haus’s first score of the day and the second of which came from Kavanagh.
Kavanagh scored her fifth goal of the day on a fantastic pass from Haus, who split the Hopkins’s defense. That mark tied Kavanagh’s career-best in both goals (5) and points (8).
Hall recorded her second goal of the day with 75 seconds remaining in the game, putting the Gators up 16-8. Hopkins would score once more with three seconds remaining in the game, but Florida was able to secure the victory and move on to the second round.
No. 19 Florida (14-6, 5-0 AAC)
Johns Hopkins (10-8, 2-4 Big Ten)
- “The team played as a complete unit today and it was really exciting to watch. Our defense was outstanding – they held a really good Hopkins team to limited opportunities. We have some things we need to work on before facing North Carolina on Sunday, but overall I’m just really proud of the effort tonight.”
- The Gators move to 8-8 overall in the NCAA Tournament and 6-1 against Hopkins
- Shannon Kavanagh scored five goals against Johns Hopkins, pushing her to 103 for her career
- She became just the 12th Gator to score at least 100 goals in a career
- Kavanagh is just the second Gator to hit that milestone in their first two seasons at Florida
- Grace Haus registered two points on the day, moving her to 97 points in her career
- She is looking to hit the 100 point mark this season
- She would be just the 17th Gator to hit the milestone and seventh to do so in their first two years
- Streaking: Haley Hicklen has recorded a save in 46-straight games, the second-best mark in program history.
- Streaking: Lindsey Ronbeck has also scored at least one goal in 31-straight games, the third-best mark in program history
- Streaking: Shannon Kavanagh is now tied with Sabrina Cristodero for Florida’s streak for consecutive games with a draw control, recording one in 33-straight games.
- Florida moves on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament to face No. 3 seed North Carolina on Sunday at 1 p.m.
- The game will be streamed on ESPN3 with Matt Krause on the call
- $10 – adults (ages 18+)
- $5 – children (7-17) and seniors (55+)
- $3 – students
- Free – kids 6 and under
Parking will be available in the Raleigh Road Visitors Lot, the Bell Tower Deck and the Cobb Deck. Fans should plan to allow extra time to reach Sunday’s game because UNC’s commencement ceremonies are scheduled for 9 a.m. that day and may affect parking and traffic.