Florida Gators lacrosse wins AAC conference championship

Special report on the Florida Gators lacrosse team:

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The No. 18 Florida Gators are regular season champs once again after defeating Cincinnati 25-6 on Saturday afternoon.

UF has won nine-straight regular season championships dating back to 2011 (4 – ALC, 4 – BIG EAST, 1 – AAC).

The Gators have now won 30-straight regular season conference games, dating back to the start of conference play in 2016.

Lindsey Ronbeck had a historic day for the Gators, leading the way on the offensive front with nine goals on the day. That marked not only a career-high, but also the most goals scored in a single game in program history, surpassing her previous mark of eight.

Sydney Pirreca pitched in four goals on the afternoon, while Madi Hall and Shannon Kavanagh followed with three apiece.

Florida controlled the draw circle – winning 22-of-33 draws, led by eight from Kavanagh.

Cara Trombetta recorded two caused turnovers against the Bearcats, leading the squad who totaled eight. Trombetta’s first CT of the afternoon was the 100th for her career.

The Gator defense held the Bearcats to 6-of-15 shooting (.400) and did not allow a goal for over the course of a 31-minute stretch (from 16:33 – 1st half to 15:29 – 2nd half).

Haley Hicklen posted six saves on the day for a .545 saves percentage. She picked up her 11th win of the season and 46th win overall.

How it Happened
Grace Haus kicked it off the Gators, scoring just over two minutes in on a free-position attempt. Cincinnati answered with an equalizer to knot it at 1-1, but Lindsey Ronbeck gave the Gators control once again at the 26:47 mark with an unassisted goal.

Cincinnati then went a 2-0 run to take the 3-2 lead, but the Gators locked in on both sides of the field to take a 9-3 lead with just over 18 minutes remaining in the half.

The Gators answered with an explosive 7-0 run of their own, beginning with back-to-back goals from Sydney Pirreca and Ronbeck to put the Gators up 4-3.

During that run, Caroline Benitez made a beautiful pass to Shannon Kavanagh on the wing, who found a cutting Brianna Harris who fired a point-blank shot into the net to put Florida up 5-3 at the 20:55 mark.

Following Harris’s goal, Ronbeck went on a 3-0 run of her own – spanning two minutes – scoring two goals off free-position shots and one off a fantastic pass from Kavanagh. The final goal of her stretch came on an incredibly acrobatic shot in front of the net off a free-position attempt.

Cincinnati scored for the final time in the half at the 16:33 mark before the defense shut them down for 31-straight minutes.

During that span, Florida went on a 12-0 run to break open the game at take the 21-4 lead.

Starting that 12-0 run was a great defensive stop by Cara Trombetta, the 100th caused turnover of her career at Florida. That turnover led to a fast break opportunity for Madi Hall, who scored her first game of the goal on a pass from Sydney Pirreca.

Hall scored again just 28 seconds later and Ronbeck followed with back-to-back with two goals of her own to continue Florida’s momentous run.

Kavanagh, Hall and Benitez registered the three remaining goals of the half to give UF the 16-4 advantage going into the locker room.

Coming out of the half, Pirreca notched two consecutive goals to extend the Florida lead and to give her her fourth hat trick of the year.

Finishing out that massive 12-0 run were goals from Ronbeck, Kavanagh and Jillian Alonso – who notched her first goal of the season on her senior night.

Cincinnati would break through to score two more goals in the game, but Florida closed it out with goals from Ronbeck, Eddy Shoop, Kassidy Bresnahan and Pirreca to earn the program’s ninth-straight regular season conference championship.

Records
No. 18 Florida (11-6, 5-0 AAC)
Cincinnati (11-6, 4-1 AAC)

Notables

*        Lindsey Ronbeck’s nine goals set a new program record for most scored in a game – surpassing the previous mark of eight

*        The Gators have gone undefeated in conference play for four consecutive seasons

o   This senior class has not dropped a conference game during their tenure

*        Sydney Pirreca scored six points against the Bearcats, moving her to 190 for her career

o   She is on pace to become just the seventh Gator to reach the 200 point milestone

*        Lindsey Ronbeck scored nine goals, moving her to 230 goals in her career, second in Florida’s all-time program history

o   Shannon Gilroy is Florida’s leading scorer with 256 goals in her career

o   Ronbeck is also at 296 points, in range to become just the third Gator to hit the 300 point mark

*        Shannon Kavanagh scored three goals against Cincinnati, putting her at 90 for her career

o   She is on pace for 100 goals this season, becoming just the 12th Florida player to hit that mark

o   If she records 100 goals this year, she will be just the second Gator to hit the milestone by the end of their second year

*        Grace Haus registered one point on the day, moving her to 88 points in her career

o   She is looking to hit the 100 point mark this season

o   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 43-straight games, the second-best mark in program history.

*        Streaking: Lindsey Ronbeck has also scored at least one goal in 28-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 30-straight games.

O’Leary’s Insight
On this senior class

–         “You think of the entire season long. You savor every moment you have with them – they are such a special group and we saw that today. I don’t have any words for this class, I am just so proud of them and how they represented the team today.”

Up Next

The Gators play travel to Cincinnati for the inaugural American Athletic Conference Tournament. The Championship Central can be found here<https://urldefense.proofpoint.com/v2/url?u=http-3A__theamerican.org_sports_2019_1_10_2019WLaxChampCentral.aspx-3Fid-3D361-26&d=DwIFAg&c=sJ6xIWYx-zLMB3EPkvcnVg&r=o5LKAX7slotfFMyE71jI7L22NYBIi1-KbRGNSXudTPo&m=LhAuXRGeBwz1okEWj9id-lJqZzu9-EFpSMw-ZwrDT9w&s=lQA4Aocg5p_rSqOhm-gPU-e-xaMq97sbMjhlAGgqAWE&e=>.

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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.