Photo by Benjamin Fox /

For the ninth straight season Florida lacrosse opened up conference play with a victory. This time around the Gators bested the Temple Owls 15-8 to open AAC play at 1-0.

To start the match, it seemed as though the trip to Philadelphia paid its toll on the Gators as they started off a bit slow.

With less than two minutes off of the game clock, the Owls would strike quickly taking a 1-0 lead over the Gators.

Shannon Kavanaugh would even the game at 1-1 followed by the Owls going on a 3-0 run to make the score 4-1 with a little over 17 minutes to play in the first half.

To tighten the gap, Hannah Mardiney assisted Lindsey Ronbeck on a score that would shorten the Owls’ lead to two.

The Gators would knot the score at 4 apiece behind a Grace Haus score from the free position followed by Kavanaugh dancing past three defenders to score her second goal of the day.

With 6 minutes remaining before the half way mark, Temple would tack on another score.

Bound and determined to head into the locker room with the lead, the Gators pieced together a 2-0 run to take a 6-5 lead into intermission. Mardiney started the run and with her 200th career goal, Ronbeck finished it.

Ronbeck is just the third Gator to reach the 200 career goal mark.  

Opening up the second half of play, Temple was quick to score again. This time, less than a minute of play had expired.

Although the Gators didn’t score quick, the Florida squad would score often throughout the second half.

Following the quick Temple goal, the Gators would go on a 9-0 run to get separation from the Owls for good.

Haus would start the run, slinging the ball into to the back of the net followed by a goal from Kavanaugh to give her hat trick number eight of the season.

Caroline Benitez would contribute a goal of her own thanks to an assist coming from Brianna Harris to put the Gators ahead 9-6.

Haus would tally back-to-back goals to earn herself a hat trick and put the Gators ahead by five.

Sydney Pirecca, Ronbeck, Mardiney and Harris would all add an additional score to the stat sheet to put the Owls away with a score of 15-8.

Defending the Florida goal was Haley Hicklen who had 12 saves on the day. Defensively, the Gators also forced four turnovers and held the Owls to 8-of-31 shooting.

Looking ahead, the Gators (6-6, 1-0)  prepare for a home contest against conference opponent Vanderbilt (8-2, 1-0) next Saturday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium for a 12 p.m. start.

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