The Florida Gators Lacrosse team were seconds away from pulling off one of the best comebacks of the season. However, the 4th ranked Syracuse Orange were too much to handle in the final moments of the game, defeating Florida 14-13, handing the 16th ranked Gators their fourth loss of the season.
The Gators got on the board first after Kassidy Bresnahan scored early in the first half at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. That 1-0 lead was quickly diminished after the Orange went on a 7-0 run in the next 11 minutes.
Florida never stopped fighting, Caroline Benitez scored the second goal for the Gators but was immediately answered by the Orange increasing their lead to 8-2.
Then out of the blue, the Gators gained momentum off of goals by Hannah Mardiney, Lindsey Ronbeck, Grace Haus, and Eddy Shoop and brought the score within two with about a minute left in the first half. But Syracuse scored the final goal and Florida entered halftime being down 9-6.
Right out of the locker room, the Gators scored twice in a row off goals by Ronbeck and Haus to bring the deficit within one. But the game was bouncing back and forth. A goal was answered on each time whenever someone scored. Especially after the Gators tied the game at 10 a piece off Shannon Kavanaugh’s goal.
The game continued with blow after blow but the Orange had the lead in the final minutes until Haus assisted Ronbeck to tie the game with 44 second left.
But the unfortunate occurred for Florida, as they allowed a free-position attempt with 8.8 seconds left remaining in the game. They took the lead 14-13 and Florida couldn’t respond and the Orange stole the win at Dizney Stadium.
Despite the loss, head coach Amanda O’Leary had this to say about her team’s performance
“I have been coaching for 30-some years, but I have never been more proud of a team and their fight. We went out and were resilient. We worked well on both sides of the field and never gave up – I am super proud of our effort tonight.”
Despite the final score, Florida outplayed the Orange on the box score. The Gators had significantly shot more than the Orange 38-24. Plus, the Gators had 14 free-position attempts compared the Orange’s nine. These stats just emphasize how Florida couldn’t capitalize on open looks.
Not a lot of unforced errors either, the Gators handled their possessions well, only having seven turnovers overall compared to the Orange’s 15 turnovers.
However, a couple of Gators did not suit up due to suspension. They violated team rules and coach O’Leary already handled the players internally.