GAINESVILLE, Fla. â€“ The No. 14 Florida lacrosse team upset No. 9 Georgetown, 17-10, on a rainy Wednesday evening at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. The victory over the Hoyas marks the first-ever defeat of a top-10 ranked opponent in program history. The Gators are now riding a five-game winning streak, the longest in program history.
An hour-long weather delay due to heavy rains and lightning in the area paused the game directly after back-to-back goals by Caroline Cochran (Annapolis, Md.), stopping play with 17:35 remaining in the second half.
â€œThis was a huge win for us,â€ Florida head coach Amanda Oâ€™Leary said. â€œGeorgetown is a premier program and is NCAA Tournament-bound year-after-year. Their coach is the head coach for the U.S. National Team, so Georgetown is obviously very well-coached and incredibly prepared. For our team to come out and play the way they did, I couldnâ€™t be more proud.â€
Florida was led by sophomore midfielders Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) and Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) with four goals apiece. Sophomore attacker Ashley Bruns contributed four points, as she found the back of the net three times and assisted on a Dashiell score in the second half.
The Gators had a total team effort as Florida saw seven players score for the third-straight game. Janine Hillier (Farmingdale, N.Y.) and Cochran each netted two for the Gators while Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) notched a goal for Florida. Freshman Krista Grabher (Vero Beach, Fla.) scored her first-ever goal in the Orange and Blue, sparking a three-goal run for the Gators late in the second half after play had resumed.
Georgetownâ€™s Jacqueline Giles scored early in the evening for Georgetownâ€™s only lead of the game before Cullen went on a three-game run to put Florida ahead 3-1. Georgetown answered back with two goals of their own to tie the game with 17 minutes remaining in the half. Florida went on a four-goal run sparked by Chestermanâ€™s lone goal of the evening, a spinning shot from the left side of the crease.
Georgetown scored again to put the Hoyas back on the board but goals by Dashiell and Bruns put the Gators ahead 9-4. Bruns was fed by sophomore defender Haydon Judge (Chestertown, Md.), notching her second-career assist.
Hillierâ€™s goal with 35 ticks remaining in the first half gave the Gators a 10-5 advantage heading into the second half, but without leading scorer Cullen, as she was given two yellow cards against the Hoyas and was suspended for the final 30:18 of the contest.
Florida could have backed away from the challenge of defeating a top-10 opponent without their leading scorer, but the Gators were prepared for the challenge. The Orange and Blue used the second half as an opportunity to come together as a team and cut down on errors and make effective use of their speed on offense. The Gators scored on seven of 13 shots (.538) in the second half and took full advantage of their strength on the draw, winning 11 out of 13 draw controls in the second half.
Georgetown scored the first two goals of the second stanza before Dashiell scored from Bruns to put the Gators ahead, 11-7. Cochran scored back-to-back goals, including a shot on an open net, to put Florida ahead, 13-7, as the referees decided to call for a weather delay.
â€œIt was really an all-around effort for our team,â€ Cochran said. â€œWe really wanted to win. We were ready to get back out there (after the rain delay).â€
Out of the delay, Georgetown once again found the back of the net twice, but Grabher stepped up in Cullenâ€™s absence, cutting through the defense and finding the back of the net with just 7:39 remaining in the contest. Dashiell
scored on a free position shot before Bruns found the back of the net, thanks to a great look from Colby Rhea (Abington, Md.). Georgetown scored one final time with 45 seconds remaining before Dashiell scored off a perfect pass from sophomore midfielder Jamie Reeg (Atlantis, Fla.) to seal the Gatorsâ€™ victory with nine seconds remaining in the game.
Florida is in the middle of a nine-game homestand. The Gators return to the field on Saturday afternoon at 1:00p.m. to take on the Temple Owls. Fans can listen on www.GatorZone.com and WRUF SportsRadio 850 with Andrew Suarez on the call.
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