No. 2 Gators Roll Past Loyola for Fourth Top 10 Win
from press release
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Senior attack Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) scored seven points guiding No. 2 Florida lacrosse to a 16-7 win over No. 9 Loyola in non-conference action on Tuesday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. The Gators improve to 8-0 on the season and earned their fourth win over a Top-10 opponent.
"I thought the team played really well and competed hard" Head coach Amanda O'Leary said. "Loyola is a very good team and well coached so we had some good competition coming into this game, but I thought we played really well."
Cullen led the Gators with five goals and two assist on the afternoon while sophomore midfielder Shannon Gilroy (Northport, N.Y.) and senior attack Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) each chipped in hat tricks to help the Gators score in double-digits for the seventh-straight game. Florida held the Greyhounds (2-3) to seven goals on the afternoon and hasn't allowed more than seven goals in one contest at home this season. Cullen recorded four goals for the second-straight game and has recorded multiple goals in the past six Florida victories.
Senior goalkeeper and ALC Defensive Player of the Week Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.) recorded eight saves in the win and also picked up two ground balls for her eighth win of the season. Senior defender Kayla Stolins (Glen Arm, Md.) recorded a career-high seven draw controls as the Gators won draw controls 16-9. Dashiell also added three draw controls while Gilroy and sophomore midfielder Nora Barry (Marcellus, N.Y.) each added two.
"The draw control is critical. When you're able to dominate the draw control you're able to offensively score and it kept it out of our defensive end, so it's just such a huge part of the game," O'Leary said.
Loyola made things interesting to start the second half, as it scored two quick goals after Barry opened the half up with a free position goal. The Greyhounds cut the lead to one off a Hannah Schmitt goal at the 27:04 mark, but Florida responded with back-to-back goals from Wiegand and Cullen less than a minute apart to regain a three-goal lead.
Dashiell made it a four-goal lead off an eight meter free position shot and Cullen would chip in her fourth goal of the day at the 9:13 mark helping the Gators go on an eight-goal scoring run in the second half, and held the Greyhounds scoreless for the final 27:53 of the game.
Seven different Gators scored in the contest, including a goal from redshirt junior attack Erin Graziano (Mendham, N.J.) on an assist by sister sophomore attack Nicole Graziano (Mendham, N.J.) with 2:25 left in the game. Senior attack Ashley Bruns (Ellicot City, Md.) and senior attack Gabi Wiegand (Bay Shore, N.Y.) each found the back of the net in the game. Nicole Graziano tied Cullen for a team-high two assists while Wiegand found Dashiell open for a goal as well.
Cullen got things started for the Gators, scoring her first goal of the day just 40 seconds into the contest. She followed up less than a minute later with another goal as she assisted Dashiell to take a 3-0 lead early. Loyola's Joanna Dalton cut the UF lead to one on back-to-back goals, but the Gators rattled off three quick goals to go up 6-2 with 13:40 to play. Loyola's leading scorer Marlee Patton got on the board with a goal at the 12:37 mark but things would fall pretty quiet as both teams each would score one more goal before the half, giving the Orange and Blue a 7-4 halftime lead.