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Gators Defeat Mercer Behind Strong Defensive Effort

via UF press release by Katie Callahan, photo by Gabriella Whisler


Nine different players score in Florida’s victory

MACON, Ga. – The eighth-ranked Florida lacrosse team defeated the Mercer Bears 15-6 on Wednesday afternoon behind a strong showing on both ends of the field.

The Gators improve to 6-3 on the year, while the Bears fall to 5-2 overall.

Florida had nine different goal scorers on Wednesday afternoon, with Kaitlyn Davies leading the way with her three-goal effort. Emma LoPintoMaggi HallEmily Heller and Danielle Pavinelli each registered two scores on the day, while four Gators each recorded one goal: Madison WatersPaisley EaganAva TigheTayler Warehime.

Hall posted a team-high three assists in the victory, while LoPinto, M. Waters and Ashley Gonzalez each dished out one assist in the win.  

The Gators won 18-of-25 draw controls on the afternoon, with Liz Harrison tallying a career-high 12. Heller added two draw control victories in the game.

Florida held Mercer to 6-of-27 (.222) shooting in the victory, posting 15 caused turnovers. Heller registered a team-high and career-high five caused turnovers, followed by two from Becky Browndorf.

Heller also posted a career-high five groundballs in the win, followed by two from Browndorf. Nine Gators each picked one groundball on the day.

In her 41:14 between the pipes, redshirt junior Sarah Reznick tallied eight saves while only allowing four goals for a .667 save percentage on the afternoon. Elyse Finnelle stepped in for the final 18:46, coming up with four saves and a .667 save percentage as well.

The Gators continue conference play on Saturday when the Cincinnati Bearcats come to town. Opening draw is slated for 12 p.m. on ESPN+ at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

No. 8 Florida (6-3, 0-1 AAC)
Mercer (5-2, 0-0 Big South)

How It Happened

  • The Gators struck fast to start, with Madison Waters scoring on a pass from Ashley Gonzalez after just 14 seconds.
  • A free-position goal from Kaitlyn Davies put Florida up 2-0 heading into the media timeout.
  • Just under a minute later, Emma LoPinto netted her first goal of the day on a wrap-around shot to give the Gators the three-goal advantage.
  • Paisley Eagan followed with her fifth goal of the season, putting Florida up 4-0 with 5:17 left in the first frame. Just over two minutes later, Maggi Hall found a cutting Danielle Pavinelli to give the Gators the 5-0 lead.
  • Florida held Mercer scoreless in the first frame, with goalie Sarah Reznick coming up with three saves.
  • The Gators kept the momentum going to start the second quarter, scoring two goals within the span of 14 seconds from the sticks of Maggi Hall and Emily Heller, respectively.
  • The Bears got on the board with 9:46 left in the first half, cutting Florida’s lead to six at 7-1. Mercer then found the back of the cage 59 seconds later to pull within five.
  • The Gators once again went up six goals after Hall found Davies for her second goal of the day, then pushed their lead to seven after Hall converted on her free-position attempt with 5:09 remaining in the frame.
  • LoPinto’s 24th goal of the season put the Gators up 10-2, then Tayler Warehime netted her first of the day to give Florida the nine-goal lead heading into halftime.
  • Mercer got on the board first to start the second half, pulling to within eight at the 11-3 mark, but goals from the sticks of Pavinelli and Davies secured the running clock for Florida with 9:35 left in the third frame.
  • The Bears got one back just under four minutes later, but Heller fired one into the back of the cage to once again give Florida running clock.
  • Ava Tighe got into the scoring column with 1:30 left in the third quarter, putting the Gators up 11.
  • Mercer scored halfway through the final frame to cut Florida’s lead to 10.
  • Both teams went scoreless for almost eight minutes of play, but the Bears added one final goal with 49 seconds left. The game still belonged to the Gators though, with Florida picking up the 15-6 win.  


  • 2023 Hat Trick Counter:
  • With her one point today, Paisley Eagan moved closer to becoming Florida’s 23rd 100-point scorer, moving to 88 in her career
  • Florida improves to 4-0 against Mercer in the all-time series, including a 2-0 record in Macon, Ga.
  • When scoring at least 14 goals, the Gators are 172-2 in program history
  • Streaking: Sarah Reznick has recorded a save in 60-straight games, a new program record
  • Streaking: Danielle Pavinelli has registered a point in 34-straight games and a goal in 32-straight games (tied for the third-longest streak)
  • Streaking: Emily Heller had recorded a draw control in 32-straight games, the third-longest streak in program history  


  • Six Gators totaled career-highs in the game:
  • Kaitlyn Davies
    • Career-high in goals (3), points (3)
    • Tied her career-high in draw controls (1) and groundballs (1)
  • Emily Heller
    • Career-high in caused turnovers (5) and groundballs (5)
  • Liz Harrison
    • Career-high in draw controls (12)
  • Jenny Woodings
    • Career-high in groundballs (1) and caused turnovers (1)
  • Carly Wilson
    • Tied career-high in groundballs (1)
  • Elyse Finnelle
    • Tied career-high in saves (4)

Insight from O’Leary

  • “We saw a really balanced effort today from the team. I’m happy with our performance on both ends of the field and this will help us grow heading into the bulk of conference play.”

Up Next

  • The Gators continue conference play on Saturday when the Cincinnati Bearcats come to town
  • Opening draw is slated for 12 p.m. on ESPN+ at Donald R. Dizney Stadium

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