The No. 14 Gators traveled nearly 800 miles to face a Goliath.
Armed with a mere 0-5 all-time record against No. 1 Maryland, Florida aimed to topple a giant 86-consecutive home victories tall.
While the team was acutely aware of what they would be facing this weekend, junior defender Kaitlyn Dabowski iterated her belief that the squad could hang with the
“Rankings always matter to an extent,” the junior said. “They’re coming off another national championship last year, so obviously they’re such a talented team…it’s just going to be a great fight for both of us as long as we come out strong.”
And that it did.
Florida (2-0) defeated the defending national champion Maryland (1-1), 15-14.
After Terps attacker Kali Hartshorn scored a goal within the first minute of the first half, Shannon Kavanagh quickly answered with one of her own. This would be her first of many in College Park, Maryland, despite having none in the same match up last season.
“Shannon just did what Shannon does,” coach Amanda O’Leary said abot the junior captain.
Kavanagh made her case for the Tewaarton Award with a career-high eight goals on 13 shots. The watchlist, which was announced Thursday, included Kavanagh and senior captain Cara Trombetta. This is both athletes’ second consecutive nomination.
Sarah Reznick also had a career-high today, recording 14 saves in the cage against the defending national champions.
“In my opinion, she’s one of the best goalies in the country,” O’Leary said about the redshirt freshman’s performance in her second start. “It’s fun to see her come out on a game field and play on that level because that’s what she does everyday in practice.”
Brianna Harris and Emerson Cabrera each had a hat trick. It was Harris’ second of the season, after scoring five goals against No. 18 Colorado in Gainesville last week and Cabrera’s first of her collegiate career.
“(I’m) just really, really proud of this team and the effort that they’ve put in,” O’Leary said. “This is a culmination of what we do in the weight room, what we do in the classroom, what we do on the conditioning field and obviously the work that we put in at practice.”
The Gators will take on their third ranked opponent in No. 11 Loyola at Donald R. Dizney Stadium next Saturday.
“We still have a ton of work to do,” O’Leary said on what lies ahead for her team. “This is the second game of the season. We have a top 10 schedule…So, yes, it’s exciting. We’re going to celebrate this victory. But, come Monday, we’re going to be back to business.”