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No. 9 Florida Uses 12-0 Run to Cruise Past Commodores; 17-8 Final

Gators Advance to their fifth AAC Championship game and will face the winner of Temple vs. James Madison

AH-Delray alum Liz Harrison 4DCs for Gators. Pine Crest alum Alex Gladding 2GBs for Vanderbilt.

via UF press release/website, by Corey Lichtman


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The ninth ranked and first-seeded Florida lacrosse team (16-2, 6-0 AAC) punched their ticket to the AAC Conference Tournament Championship game, defeating fourth-seeded Vanderbilt (9-8, 3-3 AAC) by a score of 17-8. This is the Gators 16th consecutive win, which is a new program record.

The game featured four lead changes and four ties. The Gators only led for a total of 4:10 in the first half, and faced two deficits of two goals. They found themselves trailing 6-4 with 10:56 left in the second quarter, and proceeded to go on a 12-0 in the next 26:09 with six different goal scorers to pull away from the Commodores.

Eight different Gators found the back of the net, led by Maggi Hall (four goals, three assists) and a season high five goals from Emily Heller, as they combined for nine of the teams 17 goals and 12 of the teams 23 points. Danielle Pavinelli and Gianna Monaco each scored two goals, along with one each from Cate IsaacsonJosie HahnAshley Gonzalez and Sarah Falk.

The Gators had three different players record an assist, as Hall (three), Pavinelli (two) and Gonzalez (one) helped UF out total Vanderbilt 6-4.

Florida won the battle in ground balls (21-15), caused turnovers (11-4) and draw controls (17-11). Heller led a unit that had 13 different players scoop a ground ball, as she had three on the evening. Ashley Dyer tied a career high with three caused turnovers, while Liz Harrison and Paisley Eagan paced the Gators in draw controls with four each.

Elyse Finnelle improves to 5-2 on the season, totaling her fifth consecutive win. She made six saves in the victory.

How It Happened

  • Vanderbilt struck first on a Kemper Robinson score at the 14:05 mark to make it 1-0.
  • The Gators answered 42 seconds later, as Heller shifted her way towards the cage for the bounce finish to even the score at one.
  • After a Pavinelli shot off the cross bar and Monaco ground ball, Heller drew shooting space and converted on the eight-meter opportunity for her second score of the game. The Gators led 2-1.
  • Following three Commodre scores and a media timeout, Hall lofted a pass from behind the net right to Hahn for the pretty finish to cut the deficit to 4-3 with 7:07 left.
  • Hall evened the score with 2:29 left, weaving her way to goal and finding the back of the cage. The score was even at four after one.

Second Quarter

  • Vanderbilt came out with two player-up goals in the first four minutes of the quarter, but Florida got one back with a goal from Pavinelli off the Hall delivery to cut the Commodore lead to one at the 8:56 point.
  • With 5:30 remaining, Heller tied the game with a score on the run to her right. It was her third goal of the game, and her fourth hat-trick of the season.
  • Hall gave UF their second lead of the game with 4:10 left, as she dodged through the Vanderbilt defense to make it 7-6.
  • Following an intercepted pass from Dyer with 16 seconds left, UF displayed their ability to get out in transition and perform a well-executed fast break. Dyer led the clear, and the Gators made five total passes, leading to Gonzalez feeding Hall in front of the net for her third goal with 1.3 seconds left in the half. Florida concluded the half on a 4-0 run to give them an 8-6 advantage going into the break.

Third Quarter

  • The third quarter was all Gators, as Florida outscored Vanderbilt 7-0, and outshot them 11-1 in the frame.
  • Heller kicked things off with a goal at the 11:48 mark, followed by scores from Falk, Monaco (free position), Hall, and Monaco again (free position) to make it 13-6 with 3:00 remaining.
  • Heller and Gonzalez concluded the third quarter scoring, both goals assisted from Pavinelli. UF led 15-6 after three.

Fourth Quarter

  • A goal from Pavinelli at the 12:47 mark, concluded a Gators 12-0 run throughout a 26:09  time span to push the lead to 10.
  • After two goals from Vanderbilt, Isaacson put the icing on the cake, scoring with 4:08 left, to complete a 17-8 victory.

Key Notes

  • Florida improves to 17-2 all-time against Vanderbilt, and 7-0 in Nashville
  • The Gators advance to their fifth AAC Conference Championship game, and improve to 9-0 all-time in AAC Conference Tournament play
  • Hall set the program record with the most assists in a season when she recorded her 47th assist of the year in the second quarter today
  • Harrison became the eighth player in Division l history to reach 200 or more draw controls in a season

Season/Career Highs
Emily Heller – season high five goals
Elyse Finnelle – season high three ground balls
Hannah Heller – season high three draw controls

Active Streaks (eight games or better)

Next Up
No. 9 and first-seeded Florida will take on the winner of the matchup between two-seeded (18th ranked) James Madison and three-seeded Temple in the AAC Championship on Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on ESPNU.

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