The number five ranked Florida lacrosse team has proven to be quite successful in its first three years of competition. Florida’s inaugural lacrosse team was established in 2007 allowing time to recruit and organize the program before the Gators began competition in the 2010 season.
In just its second year of competition, the Florida lacrosse team reached as high as a number two national ranking, won 14 consecutive games, accomplished an undefeated 11-0 home season, and won the regular season conference title along with several other individual athlete accomplishments.
In its third year, the team is hoping to not go home this season without winning a national championship. Last year, the Gators lost in the ALC quarterfinals to Duke 13-9 and junior defender Emily Dohony says they are not going to let another championship slip by.
Florida added seven freshmen to the roster this season including Norra Barry, Shannon Gilroy and Nicole Graziano. Florida’s freshman have scored 76 goals, over 30 percent of the goals made. Gator head Coach Amanda O’Leary says the freshman class are a big contribution to the teams performance this season.
Currently, the Gators are ranked number one in scoring offense averaging 17.57 points per game and number one in scoring defense giving up just 6.36 points. Overall, the Gators are 12-2 on the year including its first shutout ever in beating Fresno State 29-0 at the end of non-conference play. They also defeated both fifteenth ranked Ohio State and tenth ranked Penn State to become 2-0 in conference play.
With a victory against Penn State, O’Leary reached 200 Division I women’s lacrosse victories with a .717 career winning percentage. O’Leary was the head coach at Yale University for 14 seasons, but says she is grateful to now be coaching at the University of Florida.
O’Leary says that it is important for the coaches and support staff to keep a good line of communication and relationship with the players. Dohony agrees and says the coaches are somewhat like mothers to the athletes and the team is very close.
This team isn’t always business though. Off the field they still like to let loose. Dohony says her favorite memories are in the locker room when they turn up the music and dance. O’Leary also said that they have a lot of fun and has a hard time just picking one favorite memory.
The Gators now look to April 7 when they will take on the John Hopkins Blue Jays in Baltimore. The Blue Jays are 0-1 in ALC play after a loss to Vanderbilt last weekend. Last season, the Gators outshot the Blue Jays 36-27 and won 14-10. Opening draw is set for 1:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.