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Ninth-Ranked Gators Travel to Nashville for AAC Tournament; Play Vanderbilt Today at 5:30pm

The Florida lacrosse team will take on Vanderbilt in the semifinals of the AAC Tournament at Vanderbilt Soccer/Lacrosse Complex

via UF press release/website, by Corey Lichtman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The No. 9 ranked and first-seeded Florida lacrosse team will open up postseason play on Thursday, as they take on the fourth seeded Vanderbilt Commodores in the semifinals of the AAC Conference Tournament. First draw is set for 5:30 p.m. ET and 4:30 p.m. CT. The winner of this contest will advance to the championship game on Saturday against the winner of the matchup between two-seeded James Madison and three-seeded Temple.

This is the 19th career meeting between these two programs, with Florida leading the series 16-2, and winning the last 16 matchups. The Gators have won 10 of those meetings by double digits, including just over a month ago, when Florida defeated Vanderbilt on March 30 by a score of 20-5 in Nashville. UF was led by Danielle Pavinelli, who totaled a season high seven points on four goals and three assists. Madison Waters and Ashley Gonzalez contributed with three goals each as well.

Florida (15-2, 6-0 AAC) earned their 12th regular season conference tournament title on Saturday, defeating Temple by a score of 18-7. It is their fourth AAC title, and their 10th time in program history going undefeated in conference play. On Senior Day, UF was led by seniors Maggi Hall (four goals, three assists), Pavinelli (five goals), and Sarah Falk (four goals) who combined for a total of 13 goals, and 16 points. The Gators led by only one after the first quarter, but used a 10-2 run to push the lead to 10, and never looked back.

Outlook on the Commodores
Vanderbilt (9-7, 3-3 AAC) defeated Cincinnati on Saturday by a score of 14-9 to clinch their fourth berth to the AAC Conference Tournament.

The Commodores are led offensively by the trio of Kemper Robinson (35 goals, seven assists), Brooke Baker (34 goals, three assists) and Molly Finlay (30 goals, nine assists) who have combined for 54.4 percent of the teams goals this season. Ella Smith leads the team with 17 assists this season.

In goal the Commodores are anchored by Paige Gunning, who has 96 saves this season. The senior has 600 total saves in her career, trailing former Gator Sarah Reznick by just two saves for the all-time save’s leader in AAC history.

Vanderbilt is coached by Beth Hewitt, who is in her sixth season as head coach. She has a 50-43 record during her time at Vanderbilt, and has an overall record of 161-63.

Conference for all Gators
The Gators were well represented on the AAC Regular Season Awards list this afternoon, as UF had five players selected to the first team (Pavinelli, Emily Heller, Hall, Elyse FinnelleMadison Waters), and four chosen to the second team (Liz HarrisonPaisley EaganTheresa Bragg and Kaitlyn Davies). Hall was named attacker of the year, Finnelle earned goalkeeper of the year, and the Florida coaching staff was named coaching staff of the year.

Championship Pedigree
The Gators have won all four AAC Conference Tournaments since joining in 2019, most recently defeating James Madison last year by a score of 9-8. In eight career tournament games, Florida has outscored their opponent by a 129-60 margin, along with four double digit victories.

The Gators have faced off against the Commodores twice in AAC postseason play twice. In 2019, UF won by a score of 19-10 in the semifinals, and in 2022, they took down Vanderbilt in the championship by a score of 18-7.

Going for History
Florida is currently tied with Fairfield for the longest active winning streak in NCAA Division l at 15. This current mark has been met by the Gators three different times, last done in 2022. UF has outscored opponents by 12.73 goals per game over this 15-game winning streak, while averaging 19.40 goals per game and winning 12 of the matchups by double digits. A win tomorrow would be the highest winning streak in program history.

Key Notes

  • UF owns a 6-0 career record on the road against Vanderbilt
  • Florida has a 13-2 record all-time in the central time zone
  • Florida concludes their time in the AAC with a 31-1 regular season record all-time
  • The Gators have scored first in 16 of their 17 games this season. The one game they did not came on March 30 against the Commodores

Milestone Watching

  • Amanda O’Leary is three wins away from 400 career wins
  • Madison Waters is four goals away from 100 career goals
  • Maggi Hall is two assists away from passing Brianna Harris for most assists in a single season and four points away from passing Kitty Cullen for sixth all-time
  • Danielle Pavinelli is eight goals from 200 career goals
  • Liz Harrison is two draw controls from 200 on the season
  • Hannah Heller is four ground balls and seven draw controls away from 100 for her career

Active Streaks (eight games or better)

Watch No. 9 Florida take on Vanderbilt in the semifinals of the AAC Tournament
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