UF Lacrosse Head To Jacksonville In Search Of First Win

The No. 4 Florida Gator Lacrosse team will look to bounce back from their opening day loss to the No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels on Wednesday when they travel just an hour up the road to take on the Jacksonville Dolphins.

The Gators (0-1) were outmatched by UNC over the weekend falling 17-11 but head coach Amanda O’Leary notes that her team will be able to take a lot of good from that loss.

“I think you know none of us like to lose, so it’s okay to hang your head a little. I think this is a great learning opportunity for us, we saw some things we definitely need to work on and we knew going in they were going to exploit some of our weaknesses, but I think we also saw some positives.”

Many of the Gators still saw success in that game however; senior Shannon Gilroy tied for the team lead in goals scored with four and finished with one assist and two draw controls as well. Sophomore Mollie Stephens notched four goals of her own to go along with two ground balls and freshman Shayna Pirreca finished with one goal of her own in the first collegiate game of her career.

The most impressive performance on the day however went to redshirt junior Nicole Graziano who returned for her first action since the opening day match up against UNC back in 2014. Graziano had a career day that consisted of two goals, two assists, three ground balls and a whopping six draw controls. The upperclassman shined despite the loss, and O’Leary spoke volumes about what she means to the team.

“Nicole was tremendous out there. She has a spark to her, an edge to her and she leaves it all out on the table. There’s no halfway with Nicole, she’s going to go at it and give it her best and that’s what she did.”

The Dolphins have yet to play this season and they will be looking to start 2015 strong with a big win over the Gators. In 2014, the Gators and Dolphins met just one time with Amanda O’Leary’s bunch easily taking a 21-5 victory at UF. Despite the success they held a year ago, O’Leary notes the Dolphins will provide her team a very tough test.

“They’re a tremendous team; we had the opportunity to play them in the fall and it was a tight game. We are looking forward to heading up there, they have a new stadium so we will be playing in that new stadium, but for us it’s just taking care of what we need to do.”

The Gators and Dolphins will meet Wednesday at 7pm.

For the audio of the quotes above, click on the links below:

Amanda O’Leary on learning from the loss

Amanda O’Leary talks about Nicole Graziano

Amanda O’Leary talks about Jacksonville

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