A trip to the final four is on the line as the red-hot Gators lacrosse team heads to College Park, Maryland for a matchup with the Terrapins. The Gators have struggled against Maryland all-time, posting a 1-6 record in their seven meetings. However, it is worth noting that the Gators spoiled the Terps 86-game home winning streak back on Feb. 15, 2020.
How the Gators Lacrosse team got here
After a shaky 3-4 start to the season, Florida flipped the switch and rattled off 15 straight victories heading into this matchup with Maryland. Most recently, the Gators are coming off a big 15-10 second round victory against #17 ranked Jacksonville. Florida’s leading goal scorer, Danielle Pavinelli, continued her strong season by netting five goals in the Jacksonville matchup. Pavinelli’s offense is going to be crucial in the Gators matchup with the Terps.
Even Gators head coach Amanda O’Leary did not think the team would be in this position after their rocky start.
On the other side of things, Maryland posted a very strong regular season record, finishing up at 16-1. Then the Terrapins cruised through the Big Ten tournament, earning a bye for the first round of the NCAA tournament, and finishing good enough for the #2 ranking in the nation. In their most recent game, Maryland took down #13 Duke by a score of 19-6.
Keys to the Game
The Gators Lacrosse offensive unit is going to be a major factor in this matchup. The magic number for Florida is 14 goals, as the Gators are a staggering 166-2 in program history when putting in at least 14 goals. The best way to create offensive is to show up on defense. The Gators have a really tough test in front of them as Maryland has the 8th best scoring offense in the nation, posting 16 goals per game.
Another key to the team’s success could be their ability to learn over the course of the season. O’Leary says she is proud of the team’s willingness to do this all season long.
The game will take place Thursday in College Park, Maryland at 12PM.