No one is immune to coming down from a high, including the formerly undefeated Gators.
After a historic win in College Park, Maryland, where it knocked off the No. 1 team in the country at home, No. 4 Florida was brought back down to earth today in a crushing defeat at the hands of No. 12 Loyola, 16-7 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
“The Maryland win doesn’t mean too much at this point,” coach Amanda O’Leary said after the loss.
Despite their best efforts, the Gators were unable to claw their way out of the hole the Greyhounds dug for them in the first half. A 10-4 score after 30 minutes of play is the largest deficit and the least number of goals Florida has had all season. Loyola’s 10 goals at the half tied a season-high for goals in a half.
An aggressive game had the crowd passionately pleading for the referees to swallow their whistles on the Greyhound end of the field.
Florida notched 26 fouls, while Loyola had 21. A total of 42 free position attempts defined the steady blowout.
“I think we got a little frustrated,” O’Leary said. “And so, I think we played a little bit more aggressive than we had in the past…If we make a mistake, we have to just capitalize on the next opportunity, and I don’t think we did that today, unfortunately.”
While free position shots by midfielder Shannon Kavanagh (one) and attacker Grace Haus (two) were responsible for three of Florida’s goals in the first half, they also put goalkeeper Sarah Reznick in a compromising position.
After a career-best 14 saves against Maryland’s offense, Loyola’s off-ball movement threw the Gators’ defense for a loop, allowing 25 shots on goal.
Reznick was only able to save eight of them.
However, Greyhound keeper Kaitlyn Larsson had herself a day. The junior, averaging 11 saves per game prior to today’s matchup, recorded exactly that against Florida. The Gators’ only goals came from team-leader Kavanagh (two) Haus (two) and redshirt junior Brianna Harris (two).
Junior Sam Fielder more than doubled her amount of goals scored this season, scoring seven of Loyola’s 17 goals. She was followed by Livy Rosenzweig and Elli Kluegel, who each came up with a hat trick against Florida.
“We have to focus on getting better,” O’Leary said about preparing for next week. “And I think for us that means working harder at practice. It means coming out harder and being ready to execute on a daily basis. And that’s all we can ask from them.”
The Gators will take the field again this Wednesday at 11 a.m. in Kennesaw, Georgia, to battle Kennesaw State.