The Florida Lacrosse team is preparing to play in the NCAA tournament. For the first time in program history the Gators are the No. 3 overall seed in the tournament. This comes after a regular season where the team went 17-2, which Gator head coach Amanda O’Leary attributes to hard play.
Their road to that record has been far from easy, as O’Leary noted that the team has played six of the top 10 teams in the nation during their regular season. In those games, the team finished with a record of 4-2.
In addition to their No. 3 seed, the team earned a first round bye. The Gators will host Jacksonville and Southern Cal, who will face off in the first round of the tournament Thursday. The winner of that match will go on to face the Gators on Sunday
Florida faced both Jacksonville and Southern California in the regular season, coming out victorious on both occasions. The team bested USC in Gainesville 15-10 and defeated Jacksonville on the road 21-14. O’Leary noted that it was good to be able to face familiar teams in their first game of the tournament.
The weather will be a factor according to O’Leary, who believes that the Gators are at an advantage having trained all year in the heat.
The women’s Lacrosse NCAA Tournament features 26 teams, that play through 5 rounds. If the Gators are victorious, they will advance to the quarterfinals. On their side of the bracket, they could potentially face sixth ranked Syracuse, as well as Boston College and Canisius.
Some Gator Lacrosse players have received numerous accolades recently. Four Seniors, attackers Sammi Burgess and Mollie Stevens and defenders Taylor Bresnahan and Caroline Fitzgerald, were named to the IWLCA All-South Region First Team honors. Two sophomores, attacker Lindsey Ronbeck and midfielder Sydney Pirreca received IWCLA All-South Region Second Team honors as well.
These six nominations tied the team’s record for All Region selections. They have had had six player nominated in five of their last six seasons.
O’Leary said that she has loved watching this senior class grow. Many of the seniors have been starting since they were freshman and O’Leary said that she was more pleased with their role as ambassadors for the University of Florida than their performance on the field.
Jacksonville and Southern California will take Donald R. Dizney field at 4 p.m. Thursday. The Gators will host the winner of that game Sunday at 12 p.m.