Special report on the Florida Gators lacrosse team:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 14 Florida lacrosse team kicked off the 2020 season on a high note, recording a come-from-behind 11-10 victory against No. 18 Colorado.
Brianna Harris led the way with a career-high five goals, while Shannon Kavanagh posted four goals on the day. Freshman Emily Heller notched two goals and an assist in her first game in a Gator uniform.
Hannah Mardiney dished out three assists, followed by two from Kaala Puglisi in her Gator debut.
The Gators dominated the draw circle, winning 17 draws to Colorado’s six. Harris registered a team-high seven, while Kaitlyn Dabkowski pitched in a career-high six.
The defense caused a total of eight turnovers, led by two from Dabkowski. Cara Trombetta, Emerson Cabrera, Emma Wightman, Heller, Kavanagh and Harris each pitched in a caused turnover of their own on the day.
Redshirt freshman Sarah Reznick recorded 11 saves in her first appearance in the cage, recording a .524 save percentage.
The Gators return to action next Saturday, Feb. 15 against No. 1 Maryland in College Park, Md.
How It Happened
* Colorado struck first, but Brianna Harris recorded the equalizer at the 22:38 mark, on an assist from Kaala Puglisi – the first point of her collegiate career.
* The Buffs took the 3-1 lead with 17:44 remaining in the first half, but Shannon Kavanagh posted her first goal of the game on a feed from Hannah Mardiney.
* After being down 5-2 with 14:19 remaining in the first half, the Gators rattled off three-straight goals in the span of 59 seconds to knot it up at 5-5. Emily Heller started the trend with the first goal of her collegiate career and was followed by the second goal apiece from both Kavanagh and Harris.
* Heller posted her second goal of the game with 2:37 left in the half to give Florida its first lead at 6-5. The Buffs knotted it at 6-6 with just 43 seconds remaining in the frame, then notched the first two goals out of the break to take the 8-6 lead.
* Florida once again answered with a 3-0 run, beginning with Kavanagh’s hat trick with 22:43 remaining in the game. Harris punched in her third and fourth goals to give Florida the 9-8 lead.
* Colorado responded with 13:06 remaining, before Harris cliched her career-high fifth goal to put Florida ahead just over a minute later. The Buffs would not go quietly, taking advantage of a Florida man-down situation to tie the game 10-10 with 8:31 remaining.
* Kavanagh registered the game-winning goal on a free-position attempt with 3:40 left on the clock. That was her fourth goal of the day and the Gators were able to hold possession until the clock hit zero.
No. 14 Florida (1-0)
No. 18 Colorado (0-1)
On Sarah in the cage
“It was unbelievable. We knew how talented she was last year, but to see her come out in her first game was incredible. She played with a lot of confidence and has such passion for the game. She dictated the defense and did what we asked her to do. Wow what a start to the season for her.”
On Brianna Harris’s performance
‘Bri is one of those dominate players, she is so quick. What she has improved upon this year is her endurance – her ability to play a full game. We are using her on the draw circle and she was dominate today.”
On the turnovers
“Those are mistakes you cannot make because they will be goals on the other end, but we had a lot of freshmen out on that field. We want them to make those mistakes because they are only going to learn from making mistakes. We would rather have them out there making those mistakes than not taking those opportunities. Take the opportunities that are afforded to you. Do we need to make better decisions, absolutely. We made some tough decisions that were not as timely as we would have liked, but we fought hard when we did make those mistakes.”
* The Gators are now 7-4 in season openers, including 5-2 in season openers played at Donald R. Dizney Stadium
* Florida remains undefeated against the Buffs, moving to 4-0 in the all-time series and 3-0 in Gainesville, Fla.
* Brianna Harris recorded a career-high five goals on the evening
* Emily Heller posted three points in her first collegiate game, recording two goals and one assists
* Kaala Puglisi notched two assists in her first game as a Gator
* After redshirting last season, Sarah Reznick took over the cage, recording 11 saves
* Kaitlyn Dabkowski notched a career-high six draw controls in the game
* The attendance of 545 people is the third-best season opening crowd at Donald R. Dizney Stadium
* Shannon Kavanagh crept closer to 200 career points, posting four points to move her to 163 in her career
* The Gators move to 93-18 in games played at The Diz (.838)
* Streaking: Shannon Kavanagh continued her program-record streak of consecutive games with a draw control, moving to 35
* The Gators are back in action on Feb. 15 as the team travels to No. 1 Maryland
* Opening draw is set for 12 p.m.
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