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Yep. Unseeded, Underappreciated by the NCAA Old Guard Protection (oops, Selection) Committee Gators are Final Four Bound! Hall’s 6G/1A, Gators 9-0 Start Chomps Terps!


Sorry Corey, had to embellish this one!

Gators Use 9-0 Start to Rush Past Terrapins into Final Four

via UF press release, by Corey Lichtman

Florida is heading to the final four for the second time in program history, and the first time since 2012. They are the first unseeded team to make the final four since 2017


COLLEGE PARK, Md. – For the first time since 2012, the Florida lacrosse team (20-2, 6-0 AAC) is heading back to the final four! The Gators took down the fourth-seeded Maryland Terrapins (14-6, 4-2 Big Ten) by a score of 15-9 in the quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon. Florida is the first school to punch their ticket to the 2024 Final Four.

The Gators led for all but 32 seconds of this game, as they opened up the match on a 9-0 run, connecting on their first three shots of the game. The Terrapins got the lead down to as little as six, but the orange and blue were able to cruise to their 20th consecutive victory, and third career win over Maryland.

Seven different Gators found the back of the net, led by Maggi Hall who tied a career high six goals, to go along with one assist. Hall is just the third player in program history to score six or more goals in an NCAA tournament game in UF history, and one of seven players to have seven or more points. Hall broke the all-time record for most points in a season, passing Lindsey Ronbeck’s total of 107.

Danielle Pavinelli totaled four points (two goals, two assists) in the victory, including scoring the first goal just 32 seconds into the game. The senior moved into third all-time in points and fourth all-time in goals in Gator history. Madison Waters and Emily Heller totaled two goals each, with Gianna MonacoSarah Falk and Ashley Gonzalez scoring one apiece.

The Gators were outshot 36-24, but put 22 shots on target compared to the Terrapins 19. The Gators defense held Maryland to season lows in shot percentage (.250) and shot on goal percentage (.528). UF has held all three opponents to under 10 goals in this NCAA Tournament on a combined 25/89 (.281 percent).

Elyse Finnelle earned her ninth straight win in the cage, stopping 10 shots in the victory. It was her seventh game this season with double-digit saves.

How It Happened

  • The Gators connected first 32 seconds into the first quarter. Heller won the opening draw, which was quickly followed by a Pavinelli hard dodge to her right where she bounced it past the goalkeeper to go up 1-0.
  • Florida connected on two more goals in the next 2:40 to go up 3-0. Hall found a cutting Waters coming down the alley for the score at the 13:48 mark. The goal was Water’s 100th for her career, and the assist gave Hall the all-time record for points in a season at 108.
  • Hall then took matters into her own hands, scoring two minutes later off a strong dodge to her left for the goal, forcing Maryland to burn an early timeout.
  • After 2:15 of no scoring, the Gators scored six consecutive goals in a span of 7:26 to take a commanding 9-0 lead. Four of those goals came via an assist, as the other two were unassisted with one of those being a player-up free-position goal.
  • Pavinelli (9:33) and Gonzalez (9:01) scored goals separated by just 32 seconds off assists from Koury and Heller. Waters (6:27) finished on a smooth face dodge from the left wing off a pass from Pavinelli.
  • UF’s seventh goal was a hectic sequence, as Florida capitalized off a Maryland turnover in their own end, resulting in Hall scoring low on the cage (5:19) via an assist from Pavinelli. Falk (4:36) scored an unassisted goal, concluded by a Heller player-up eight-meter goal (2:07) to give the orange and blue a nine-goal advantage.
  • Maryland got one back with 1:08 left, giving the Gators an eight-goal lead after one. Six different Gators found pay dirt in the frame.

Second Quarter

  • The second quarter was a little calmer, with both teams scoring one goal apiece. Hall scored the first goal of the second frame, giving the senior her 10th hat-trick of the season. Florida led 10-1 with 12:20 left.
  • 33 seconds later the Terrapins answered with a score of their own. The quarter featured nine total turnovers, as Maryland outshot the Gators 6-3. UF went into halftime up 10-2.

Third Quarter

  • Heller scored the first goal of the half at the 12:31 mark to tie the largest lead of the game at nine.
  • Following two Maryland goals, Hall stopped the run as she scored on a free-position opportunity. UF led 12-4 with 9:49 left.
  • The Terrapins scored two unanswered once again, but Hall gave the Gators momentum going into the fourth as she connected on her fifth goal of the game via an eight-meter opportunity. Maryland outshot the Gators 14-5 in the third, but only outscored the Gators 4-3.

Fourth Quarter

  • Florida connected first in the final frame, as Gonzalez found Monaco for her 100th career assist, and Monaco’s first goal of the game to make it 14-6 with 12:57 left.
  • The teams exchanged scores in the next 4:23. Hall scored her sixth of the game, on a free-position snipe into the top left corner. The Gators led 15-7 with 8:34 remaining.
  • The Terrapins scored two unanswered goals to end the game, but it was all Gators who took the 15-9 victory.

Coach O’Leary’s Insight
I think this team is just built different. They just came out with a goal from the beginning of the season, and they wanted to accomplish that goal. There was nothing that was going to stand in their way. The Final four was their goal and they did it… They just execute the game plan. We battled some adversity starting 0-2, and I think everybody wrote us off early in the season and I think it just kicked in. Everybody wanted it, and they got it.”

Key Notes

  • The Gators improve to 3-8 all-time against Maryland, and 1-1 against them in the NCAA Tournament
  • The Gators are the first team since Navy in 2017 to win three straight road games to reach the final four, and the fifth team since 2001 to win all road games to make the semifinals
  • Florida will be in their second career final four, and improve to 16-12 all-time in the NCAA Tournament
  • Gonzalez became the second player in program history to reach 100 assists
  • Hall’s current total of 114 points is a new program record in a season
  • Waters first quarter goal was good for her 100th career goal
  • Pavinelli is now third all-time in points and fourth all-time in goals at UF
  • 20 wins is a new program record for UF, and they have won 14 straight games by five goals or more
  • The Gators have held their opponent to under 10 goals in 12 of the last 13 contests
  • The Gators scored three free position goals compared to the Terrapins one

Season/Career Highs

Active Streaks (eight games or better)

Up Next
The No. 10 Gators will have eight days off before they take on the winner of the eighth-seeded Penn and first-seeded Northwestern matchup on Friday, May 24 in Cary, N.C at WakeMed Soccer Park. First draw will be at 3 p.m. on ESPNU.

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