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Danielle Pavinelli gets past a defender in the Gator lacrosse team's win over Furman on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Hannah White.

Gators Lacrosse Opens Season Saturday

The 10th-ranked Florida Gators Lacrosse team open their season on the road against 8th-ranked Loyola University Maryland Saturday at noon. Florida will follow up with an exhibition matchup against the Scotland National Team.

https://twitter.com/GatorsLAX/status/1752022951266832527

Florida’s Early Obstacles

The Gators will not have any time at the beginning of the season to ease back into action. In their first three games, they take on three top-10 teams. After traveling to 8th-ranked Loyola, the Gators travel to 3rd-ranked North Carolina on Feb. 17 and 9th-ranked Maryland Feb. 24. After the Loyola game, the Gators will have a home exhibition matchup against the Scotland National Team on Wednesday.

The Gators’ coach, Amanda O’Leary, is treating the start of the season as an opportunity to see how they measure up against the best teams in the country. She wants her team to play against the best teams in the country because she wants them to be challenged.

Team Culture

Coach O’Leary is optimistic about the team’s culture, and says the transfers have easily fit in with the team. She praised the upperclassmen for making sure the team has a good culture inside the locker room.

Freshman Frenzy

The Florida Gators 2024 freshman class consists of Cate Issacson, Makena Harrington, Keira Rooney, Delaney Radin, Frannie Hahn, Sam Hughes, Gabbi Koury, Ashley Dyer, Alyssa Deacy and Lea Flobeck.

O’Leary expressed excitement when talking about the freshman class for this season, and she expects some of the members of the class to get significant playing time this season. She mentioned that the freshman class is hard-working group.

Players to Keep An Eye On

With the departure of the team’s leader in goals, assist and points, Emma LoPinto, to Boston College, the Gators will look to their next three point leaders. Maggi Hall (attack), Danielle Pavinelli (attack) and Emily Heller (midfielder) were the next three players behind her.

Hall had 47 goals and 36 assists for 83 points in her sophomore season. In her junior season, Pavinelli had 47 goals and 21 assist for 68 points. Heller had 39 goals and four assists in her senior season, and she looks to have an even better season as a graduate student.

All three players will look to take a step forward this season.

Last Time Out

The Gators ended last season 17-4 and lost to Notre Dame 16-15 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Gators are looking to improve on how last season ended and advance further in the tournament. The road back to the tournament for the Gators starts on Saturday at Loyola.

About Jackson Colding

Jackson Colding is a second-year journalism sports and media student at the University of Florida.

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