Florida defeats Vanderbilt 14-9
Kirsten Chuba, Florida Sports Talk/NBC Sports
Saturday afternoon marked the last home game at Donald R. Dizney Stadium for Florida Lacrosse (14-2 (5-0 ALC)) this season, and for seniors Cara Canington and Krista Grabher, it was the last home game of their careers. The Gators leave their home turf with a victory, though, winning today’s Senior Day game against Vanderbilt (4-10 (1-4 ALC)) by a score of 14-9.
Vanderbilt started off the game strong, scoring the first goal within the first five minutes of play. The Gators would hold them off for most of the quarter, however, despite the fact that star player Shannon Gilroy was being heavily face-guarded.
Freshman Sammi Burgess scored three goals in the first half, with Devon Schneider and Mollie Stevens each adding two of their own. Nora Barry and Sam Darcangelo also each had a goal.
After the Gators had gained quite a lead on Vanderbilt, the Commodores went on a scoring streak in the last six minutes of the half, putting four more points on the board.
At half, Florida led Vanderbilt 9-6.
Kicking off the second half, Vanderbilt continued with the momentum they had had during the end of the first quarter, getting within one point of Florida at 9-8. At this point Coach Amanda O’Leary called a time-out to regroup the Gators.
“They were able to figure out our weaknesses, but we were able to come back and fix them ourselves, too,” Shannon Gilroy said.
For the rest of the half, Florida regained control with Gilroy scoring two goals and Burgess, Stevens, and Lauren Lea each adding a goal. With her points today, Gilroy became the single-season point leader at Florida, with 87 points so far this year.
The game ended with a 14-9 victory for the Gators.
“This was a much closer game than the five goals that tallied at the end,” Coach O’Leary said. She added that she is “just really pleased with this victory, this was a great win for our two seniors and sending them on their way in a really positive way.”
Lauren Lea said the key to Florida’s win was that they were “going to take these opportunities and if we don’t get that opportunity we’ll get the second and third… if the goalie saved it, bounced it out of the crease, we were the ones there to pick it up today.”
Florida finishes out its regular season with an away game at Northwestern at 2 p.m. on Saturday before heading to the ALC tournament.
Of the game, O’Leary said, “We have a big one on Saturday against Northwestern but no matter what happens there this team is a really special group of young women.”
Kirsten Chuba is a freshman journalism major at the University of Florida. Kirsten covers UF Lacrosse for Florida Sports Talk/ NBC Sports Radio. She is from Los Angeles and loves sports, especially playing club water polo at UF. You can follow Kirsten on Twitter @kirstenchuba. Go Gators!