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MCLA: UF Men Take Down FGCU 14-8

via release   GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of Florida men’s lacrosse team kicked off their 2017 campaign Saturday with a 14-8 victory at home over Florida Gulf Coast University. The meeting marked the first ever regular-season matchup between the Gators, who play in Division I of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA), and the Eagles, who play in the MCLA’s second division. The two teams first met in Ft. Myers this past November for a fall ball scrimmage. The Eagles came away victorious in a back and forth affair that required overtime to determine a winner. Immediately following the tough road loss, the Gators’ team leadership looked ahead to their February season-opener on their home turf as an opportunity to settle the score. “We knew when we scheduled FGCU that they were going to be a challenge for us”, said Garrett Hanrahan, Florida’s Head Coach. “The coaches down there have done a really good job of developing the program in a short amount of time and getting it to the point it’s at now. They’ve won a SouthEastern Lacrosse Conference championship at the Division II level and they are in the National Championship discussion at that level year in and year out. The overtime loss on their turf in the fall reinforced for us the kind of preparation and performance we would need to put forth come February if we wanted the season to start off the right way.” After a slow start, the Gators trailed FGCU 5-3 early on in the 2nd quarter before going on a 5-goal run and never looking back. Florida went into the half with an 8-6 lead, and a strong showing from the defense in the second half allowed the Gators the widen the gap. Lead by steady play from goalie and senior captain Alex Triay, the defense made some key adjustments and held the Eagles to just 2 goals in the game’s final 30 minutes.     On the offensive side of the ball, the combined efforts of faceoff specialist and senior captain Aaron Silcott and freshman attackman Sam Khalil lead the way for the Gators. Silcott went 17 of 23 (74%) on faceoffs while Khalil turned in an 8-point performance with 3 goals and 5 assists. Overall, 12 different players tallied points for the orange and blue in a well-balanced offensive effort. “That’s the kind of team we want to be on offense,” said Hanrahan, “we want to distribute the wealth and we don’t want to be one dimensional. FGCU showed us some different looks defensively in the second half, pressing out on our guys a bit more, and we were able to adjust our approach and still be effective scoring goals. I think all but one of our goals were assisted, which is a good sign in terms of ball movement and keeping our heads up when we dodge. It wasn’t a great offensive performance by any means when you look at turnovers and shooting percentage, but it was a good first outing and something that we can build on.” The Gators now turn their focus to a short week of preparation for their first road trip of the season. They leave Gainesville on Thursday for Baton Rouge, LA, where they will take on LSU and Alabama. “Defending your home turf is important, but if you want to compete for championships in this league you have to be able to win on the road,” said Hanrahan. “We’ll get two great opportunities to test ourselves this weekend and we’ll find out if we’ve worked hard enough to do that yet.”