Photo by John W. Robinson

The Florida Gators’ lacrosse team will advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament after beating Johns Hopkins with a convincing score of 16-9.

The Gators, who travelled to Chapel Hill, N.C. after claiming the AAC Conference title were quick on the draw scoring six points in the first 10 minutes of play. 

To get scoring underway, Caroline Benitez forced a turnover and gave the Gators a quick opportunity to score as Sabrina Cristodero assisted a cutting Lindsey Ronbeck.

Just seconds later, Sydney Pirecca found Shannon Kavanaugh to tack on one more for the Gators. 

Pirecca would continue to contribute early as she found the back of the net three times to make the score 5-0. Converting on a free position attempt, Brianna Harris added a goal of her own to make it 6-0 with just over 20 minutes left in the first half. 

Hopkins would chip away at the deficit going on a 4-0 run of their own. 

Kavanaugh would end the Blue Jays’ scoring streak by netting her 100thcareer goal becoming the 12thGator to accomplish the feat, but more even more impressive, she is just the second Gator to do so in the first two years of their tenure. 

Heading into the locker room, the Gators would hold on to an 8-5 lead after Madi Hall tallied a goal of her own for Florida. 

Coming out of the break, Florida was quick to strike again as Kavanaugh found Ronbeck to expand on the lead. 

While Hopkins would get on the board as well, the Gators would quickly score insurance goals creating a more comfortable lead behind goals from Harris, Ronbeck and Kavanaugh. 

Florida suffered two yellow cards late in the match allowing the Blue Jays to get a man-up goal to come within four. 

Florida answered quickly with back-to-back scores; one coming from Grace Haus and the other coming from Kavanaugh, making for her fifth goal of the day. 

With 1:15 to play, Hall would add one more goal to her stat sheet and Hopkins would score a last second goal to make the final score 16-9. 

Looking forward, the Gators will camp out at Chapel Hill and prepare to face off against the No. 3 seeded North Carolina Tar Heels. The Gators’ second round contest is chalked up for a 1 p.m. start on Sunday. 

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