Photo by Brian Fox | ChompTalk

No. 13 Florida entered Vidas Field on Sunday coming off a huge win against No. 3 Syracuse. After holding the Orange to their season low in goals, Drexel would seem to pose much less of a threat to the Gators. On the contrary, the game came down to the final minute and victory nearly slipped from UF’s grasp.

Florida (4-4) defeated Drexel (4-4) 10-9 on two last minute goals from Maggi Hall and Danielle Pavinelli to tie and take the lead, barely holding off an eight-goal surge from the Dragons.

The Gators started off with a bang, opening up the contest 8-1 in the first half. Hall scored six goals, a career high performance. Pavinelli notched two of her own to move up to 28 on the season. Paisley Eagan and Emily Heller also added to Florida’s total in the game.

“We came out with a lot of energy in the first half and saw some great play on both the offensive and defensive sides of the field,” head coach Amanda O’Leary said. 

Drexel found a string of good fortune to turn the momentum around despite recording only a .346 shooting percentage. The Dragons lit up the net with four unanswered goals in nine minutes. Florida went scoreless during the entire third quarter.

After allowing four more goals in the fourth, the Gators found themselves somehow down 9-8 with just over five minutes remaining in the game.

Florida positioned themselves to reclaim victory after the tying goal from Hall found the back of the net with exactly a minute to go. Hall got to play hero again on her career night, finding Pavinelli for the assist on the game-winning goal with just 18 seconds remaining.  UF escaped and returned to .500 on the season.

“After the half, we let things get away from us on both sides,” O’Leary said. “But I am proud of this team for showing the resilience to come back in the final minute of play and get a road victory.”

Up next, the Gators return home to face off against Stetson. The Hatters are 3-5 overall and 1-0 in away games. Florida captured a dominant 19-7 win in the schools’ previous matchup in March of 2021. First draw is set for Wednesday, March 23 at 4:30 p.m.

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