Florida’s Chilling First Victory
It was 34 degrees in Boulder, but Florida brought the chill as the Gators scored eight goals before halftime. On offense, veterans Lindsey Ronbeck, Grace Haus and Shannon Kavanagh set the tone as they came out strong contributing four goals each. Right from the start, Ronbeck recorded a hat trick in under 15 minutes. However, Kavanagh came into Saturday’s game clearly ready to take on the season. The sophomore midfielder’s two assists on Saturday was her tenth consecutive game to have at least one assist. Her four goals tied for her career-high in goals as well. In addition to a stellar offense, Florida’s defense was impeccable. Senior goalkeeper Haley Hicklen lived up to her Preseason AAC Goalkeeper of the Year honor as she had nine saves. Hicklen is now just 16 saves away from the all-time record.
Tradition and Loads of Hype is on Maryland’s Side
Saturday’s game against Maryland will be the fifth meeting between the two programs––Florida has yet to win a game in the series. Last year, Maryland defeated the Gators 16-14. In fact, it was the first time in Florida history the team lost despite scoring 14 goals. Despite the loss, Florida showed improvement as they led 2-0 within the first two minutes of the game making it the first game the Gators took the lead against the Terps.
But now, a year has gone by, and like the Gators, the Terps also scored 16 goals in their season-opener against George Mason. For Maryland, the team has a strong group of upperclassmen who lead the offense. Senior Jen Giles scored five goals and had an assist in the season opener. In addition to Giles, senior Caroline Steele and junior Kali Hartshorn both contributed a hat trick.
The Gators will host the Terps on Thursday, Feb. 14 at 7 p.m.