Florida women’s lacrosse took on their third-straight top 10 opponent Saturday at home against the fifth- ranked Stony Brook SeaWolves — and lost their third-straight match.
No. 11 Florida (1-3) fell to No. 5 Stony Brook (2-1) 14-13 in a match that came down to the final minutes of play. Despite a late game surge for UF, the Gators were unable to topple their opponent and pick up their first ranked win of the season that continues to elude head coach Amanda O’Leary’s squad.
The game began highly contested, with both groups scoring their opening goals in the first four minutes of play. Attacker Emma LoPinto opened up the scoring for UF and finished with a hat trick on Saturday.The freshman now has 10 goals in just four games on the season.
Stony Brook would break the score open in the following 20 minutes, scoring five unanswered points to take a 6-1 lead over Florida. The Gators were given seven yellow cards and totaled 32 fouls in the game, which gave the SeaWolves plenty of opportunities to expand their lead.
“We came out and made some mistakes with yellow cards early in the game,” O’Leary said. “We cannot have those penalties and those additional opportunities given to the other team.”
Danielle Pavinelli would score twice to close out the second quarter alongside a free position goal from Emerson Cabrera, and Florida entered halftime down 8-4 at the half. The Gators marched off the field to the locker room, and emerged a much different team.
Pavinelli found the back of the net for the third time in under 30 seconds of game clock to bring UF’s deficit down to three to open the second half. Stony Brook added three more points to its total but was outmatched by Florida’s seven goals in the third quarter. Pavinelli scored her fourth and final goal of the contest joined by three other Gators on a 4-0 run to even the score at 11 entering the final quarter.
Despite two goals from junior Emily Heller in the fourth, the Gators foul trouble came back to bite them. Florida earned two yellows in the fourth period which helped set up Stony Brook to take a 3-2 goal advantage in the fourth, and hold the ball out for the last 90 seconds to claim victory.
“Really proud of the fight though,” O’Leary said. “We came back from being down 8-4. The team showed a lot of grit and a lot of heart.”
Florida is now 1-3 on the short season. If any, the one positive that exists is that all three teams that have overpowered Florida are among the top 10 in the country. Regardless, the Gators will be looking to obtain some kind of momentum with conference play being less than a month away.
The Gators travel to Lynchburg, Virginia, for their next matchup against Liberty. Opening draw is set for Mar. 9 at noon.