They say the best defense is a good offense, and that was certainly a philosophy the Gator lacrosse team (10-4, 4-0 BIG EAST) embraced on Wednesday. Defender Caroline Fitzgerald notched her first career goal in the midst of a 8-2 second half run to help Florida defeat Marquette 16-5.
Fitzgerald hadn’t even taken a shot in 34 games.
Meanwhile Florida coach Amanda O’Leary felt that her team “came out a lot harder” in the second half, and “competed for ground balls and did the little things we needed to do to be successful.”
Then Fitzgerald would score again, and the Gators defense would ride their confident sophomore to 10 turnovers while allowing just five goals. But Fitzgerald didn’t spend the game on her defensive end, as she moved up to the midfield.
“She did a great job filling a position that she wasn’t used to playing, but she stepped up and did what we asked her to do,” said O’Leary.
Another part of giving up just the five goals was another defensive leader for Florida, Mary-Sean Wilcox. The Gator goalie was in the zone, racking up a season high nine stops; that makes it 16 saves over just the last two games.
It was a tremendous job in goal according to coach O’Leary.
“I thought she started out kind of slow, but really turned it on and made some critical saves throughout the game.”
As for the Gators offense, it was the same old cast of characters as Shannon Gilroy put four goals in against the Golden Eagles, moving her career goal total to 14th all time. Mollie Stevens added another couple, and she has now scored in 18 straight games. And Devon Schneider was as efficient as you can be, scoring three goals on three shots.
Florida continues BIG EAST play this Saturday as they welcome in Villanova at 1pm. It will be the last home game for Florida so it will be Senior Day at the Diz. Two of Florida’s seniors, Shannon Gilroy and Nora Berry, have played a huge role in defining “Phase II” of Florida lacrosse after the initial class graduated. Mikki Offit rounds out the Gator three player senior class to be honored on Saturday.