March 30, 2014

Florida Bests Penn State to Stay Perfect in ALC Play

by Eden Otero | LaxMagazine.com | Twitter

In-Game Blog Replay

 

Florida midfielder Sam Darcangelo was the weapon that Penn State couldn't defend against.

In a battle between the top two – and to the start of the game, only unblemished – teams in the ALC, the No. 5 Gators held off the No. 13 Nittany Lions to improve to 3-0 in the league and take the early driver's seat in the chase for the league tournament's top seed, 13-9.

"I just really saw the ball well off the draw," said Darcangelo, who had a goal, two assists, and a career high seven draw controls. "I was focusing on boxing my girl out and help out the team."

The sophomore has been essential for the Florida Gators on the draw circle. She has a season total of 43 draw controls, behind only junior star Shannon Gilroy, who also had a big game to stifle the Nittany Lions wit four goals, six draw controls and five ground balls.

Coming into the second half, Florida faltered and Penn State took advantage, putting themselves only three points from tying up the game and possibly taking a win.

It was Gilroy and Darcangelo that stopped Penn State from gaining anymore on them.

"We were losing the draw control in the second half, that kind of swung the momentum the other way," Darcangelo said. "Our defense came up with some big saves. We just needed to relax again, then Shannon (Gilroy) has these amazing goals and that gets us all worked up."

Penn State had a rough first half, Gilroy managed to score three of her four goals of the day in the first half alone and the Penn State defense was having trouble playing man-to-man defense against Florida because of the need to cover Gilroy with two or three defenders at a time would leave another Florida player open to make the shot.

The Nittany Lions used their halftime to identify the issue and find a way to stop the Florida offense from duplicating its first half.

"We needed to adjust and I think it took us too long to adjust to what they were doing offensively and what they were doing defensively," said Florida coach Amanda O'Leary. "We need to be able to recognize that and make changes on the field. I don't think we had a very good second half to be quite honest."

With wins over the Nittany Lions and conference bohemouth already, Florida will close out its regular season with three straight conference tilts leading into the league tournament. Penn State, takes on Northwestern this week which will likely determine the second spot in the league behind Florida.


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