The afternoon showers couldn’t keep a crowd of 1,015 away from Dizney Stadium to watch the No. 2 ranked Florida lacrosse team take on top ranked Maryland Saturday in Gainesville.
The Terrapins grabbed an early lead against the Gators, scoring two goals in the first six minutes. Florida responded with two unassisted goals from freshman Lindsey Ronback to tie it up with 10:10 left in the first period. Ronback combined with fellow freshman Sydney Pirecca for three goals and four points between the pair in the game.
The Terps answered by putting up two more goals to end the half up 4-2, giving the Gators their first half time deficit this season. It looked like the Gators would come back from the half time break renewed when red shirt senior Nicole Graziano put one in the back of the net; her goal brought the Gators within one goal from tying it up, but it was not enough. Maryland went on an eight goal run, increasing the score to 12-3.
The Gators tried to mount a comeback, with a late goal from Pirecca assisted by Sammi Burgess with 8:50 left in the game. However, Maryland sealed the game by scoring twice more to bring the score to 14-4. The Terps improved to 6-0 on their season, while the Gators stand at 9-1.
By the numbers, Maryland dominated almost every facet of the match up. They out shot Florida 31-16, recorded 15 draw controls to the Gators five, and forced Florida into 11 turnovers to the Terrapins nine. To make matters worse for the Orange and Blue, the Gators committed 28 fouls to the Terps nine. Gator coach Amanda O’Leary said her team needs to work on winning 50/50 balls moving forward.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Gators though as there were some bright spots for Florida. Junior Caroline Fitzgerald recorded five ground balls against the Terps, a new season high. She also led Florida with two caused turnovers. Goalkeeper Mary-Sean Wilcox registered seven saves; she has recorded seven or more saves against four ranked opponents in 2016. This was also the fifth game that Graziano picked up at least three draw controls this season.
There are just two games left in Florida’s five game home stand. O’Leary said her team needs to be ready to work heading into their first game of Big East play. The Gators will host Vanderbilt on Saturday at noon.