Playing their fifth game in 11 days ahead of a week-long break, you might have expected the No. 3 Florida lacrosse team to come out flat on Sunday afternoon against the University of Albany. Florida was anything but. Scoring quick and often, the Gators raced out to a 12-3 halftime lead behind huge performances from sophomore midfielder Shannon Gilroy and a trio of seniors, and they never looked back en route to a 17-7 victory over the Great Danes.
Gilroy scored five goals and set a career-best with eight draw controls, besting the program’s all-time record of seven set three times previously by Gilroy. Senior attack Ashley Bruns recorded her second straight game with four goals totaling five points, while her fellow senior attack Kitty Cullen chipped in with three goals and an assist. Senior Brittany Dashiell added two goals. However, it was Gilroy who stole the show in this one, scoring four first half goals and giving Florida control off the draw on numerous occasions. Gator coach Amanda O’Leary was pleased with her young midfielder’s development, and she praised her effort postgame.
With the win, the Gators moved to 6-0 on the season, a first for the program, ending a gauntlet that started February 13th with a trip to Jacksonville. Florida traveled to High Point and North Carolina before hosting three home games this week against Stony Brook, UC-Davis and, finally, Albany.
Now Florida gets a week to prepare for a gigantic challenge next Saturday, when they travel to Miami’s SunLife Stadium to play the Syracuse Orange. The Gators’ budding rivalry featured two heartbreaking overtime losses to Syracuse last year, including the decisive blow in the 2012 NCAA Final Four. Cullen said it won’t be difficult for her teammates to get excited for such a big game.
Opening draw is set for 5 p.m. from SunLife Stadium on Saturday. The game will be televised by Sun Sports, with ESPN 850/900’s Larry Vettel and M.C. McFadden on the call.