The Gators dropped a 15-11 decision to the Tar Heels in the second round of the NCAA Tournament
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – The No. 19 Florida women’s lacrosse team put up a valiant effort for all 60 minutes, but fell to No. 3 North Carolina 15-11 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Gators finish the 2019 season with a 14-7 record, garnering both an AAC regular season championship and AAC tournament championship.
Sydney Pirreca led the Gator offense, recording five goals on the day. Caroline Benitez and Shannon Kavanaghpitched in two goals apiece as well, while Lindsey Ronbeck and Grace Haus recorded one goal each against the Tar Heels.
The Gators won 13 draws on the day, led by four from Ronbeck. Sabrina Cristodero and Brianna Harris each pitched in three draw controls as well.
As a squad, the Gators caused six turnovers on the day – coming from six different Florida players (Haley Hicklen, Caroline Benitez, Sabrina Cristodero, Cara Trombetta, Caroline May and Sydney Pirreca).
Haley Hicklen posted seven saves on the day, finishing her tenure at Florida with 49 wins – the second-best mark in program history.
How it Happened
North Carolina got on the board first, scoring just under three minutes into the game, but Sydney Pirreca fired the equalizer just 34 seconds later to knot the game at one apiece.
After Pirreca’s goal at 26:49 the Tar Heels went on a 5-0 run over the course of 13 minutes in the second half to take the 5-1 lead.
The Gators were not going quietly though, with Pirreca and Shannon Kavanagh firing back-to-back cannons into the back of the net to cut the deficit to three goals with eight minutes remaining in the first half. North Carolina got one back to extend the lead to four goals, but Madi Hall found Caroline Benitez for the score with 5:31 left in frame.
The Tar Heels tacked two more goals onto the board before the half, taking a 9-4 lead into the locker room.
Coming out of the half, Benitez collected her second goal of the day – this time while falling – on a beautiful pass from Kavanagh to cut UNC’s lead to four at 9-5.
Pirreca followed with her third goal of the day on a pass from Brianna Harris, pulling within the Gators to within three at 9-6. UNC answered with back-to-back scores, extending the lead back to five goals with just over 23 minutes left to play.
Lindsey Ronbeck netted her first goal of the game and 89th of the season to cut the deficit to four goals at 11-7. Pirreca followed with her fourth goal of the day on a pass from Ronbeck, pulling Florida to within three goals.
The Tar Heels quickly extended their lead back to five goals after recording two goals within a minute of each other.
Florida came storming back, cutting UNC’s lead to two goals at 13-11. Kavanagh notched the first goal of the run, followed by Pirreca’s fifth goal of the day. Grace Haus pitched in her first goal of the day as well to bring Florida to within striking distance.
The Gators’ comeback was cut short after UNC went on a 2-0 run to take a four-goal lead with 4:36 remaining in the game. Florida was unable to break through the rest of the way, falling 15-11.
No. 19 Florida (14-7, 5-0 AAC)
No. 3 North Carolina (16-3, 5-2 ACC)