Gainesville, Fla. — The No. 17 Florida lacrosse team, led by 10 combined points from sophomores Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) and Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.), defeated UMBC on Wednesday night, 16-6, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
Seven different Gators scored against the Retrievers. Florida is now 3-0 when at least five different players score. Cullen picked up right where she left off, scoring five goals on the evening. The Retrievers double- and triple-teamed the sophomore midfielder but Cullen cut and spun through the UMBC defense with ease. Cullen was 2-for-2 on free position shots, strengthening what was a weak spot for the Gators in their first game of the season against No. 3 UNC. Florida was 0-for-4 against the Tar Heels but have been 5-for-12 since February 12th.
Bruns had four goals and the only assist of the evening for the Gators, who now move to 3-1 on the season heading into a 10-day break. Bruns contributed on both sides of the ball, registering two draw controls, two ground balls and two caused turnovers.
The Gators dominated possession for the entire contest. The Retrievers did not gain possession for the entire first half, as Florida won all eight draw controls. The Gators continued their ownership of the draw in the second half, winning 11 draw controls to UMBCâ€™s five. Janine Hillier (Farmingdale, N.Y.) led the team with a career-high five draw controls. This possession also impacted the shots taken by each squad, as Florida more than doubled UMBCâ€™s shots on the evening, 39-16.
â€œThe draw is huge,â€ Florida Head Coach Amanda Oâ€™Leary said. â€œWhen you can possess the ball, they canâ€™t score. It puts you at a distinct advantage to be in possession of the ball right off the bat.â€
The Gators started a run from the get-go, as Cullen scored her first goal 47 seconds into the game. Bruns scored less than five minutes later before Hillier and Caroline Cochran (Annapolis, Md.), Cullen and Bruns all scored within four minutes of each other. UMBCâ€™s Erika Braerman put the Retrievers on the board before both teams held each other scoreless for the final 19:17 of the first half. Heading into intermission, Florida was ahead of UMBC, 6-1.
Cullen opened the scoring again for the Gators in the second half, as she scored from a free position 28 seconds into the action. Colby Rhea (Abington, Md.) scored a goal of her own before the teams began to trade goals heading into the halfway point of the second half. The Gators finally broke through the UMBC defense and went on another 6-0 tear, including two goals apiece from Cullen and junior Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.). Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) closed out the scoring for the Gators, putting the 16th goal in the back of the net with 9:30 remaining in the contest.
Florida now has a 10-day hiatus before taking on Lehigh at Donald R. Dizney Stadium on March 5th at 1:00 p.m. Wednesdayâ€™s game can be heard and seen on www.GatorZone.com with Andrew Suarez and Michael Gillespie covering the action. Fans can also follow @GatorZoneLAX on Twitter for live scoring updates.