Florida entered Five-Star Stadium in Macon, Georgia, with one game remaining before conference play and a five-game winning streak on the line. After going through their fair share of ups and downs early on, the Gators have been red hot on the final stretch before AAC play begins.
They showed no signs of cooling off against Mercer on Wednesday.
No. 10 Florida (7-4) defeated Mercer (5-3) 19-5 to close out the opening stretch of non-conference play. UF now holds claim to five straight wins and a perfect 6-0 record against unranked groups heading into the most important portion of the regular season.
It was a total offensive attack Wednesday afternoon. Ten Gators found the back of the net during the contest. Emma LoPinto, coming off her fifth AAC freshman of the week award this season, led they way with five goals. Maggi Hall followed closely behind her with her fourth hat trick of the year. Star attacker Danielle Pavinelli contributed two of her own, moving her season points total to 88.
Florida’s defense stood stout as well, allowing just 5-21 shooting from the Bears. UF caused six turnovers and Sarah Reznik imposed her will on the opposing attack with 12 saves. The senior defensive anchor continued her 40 game streak of consecutive saves, the third longest in program history.
Mercer went scoreless in the fourth quarter as Florida ran away with the victory.
The Gators now stand at 7-4, tied for the second-best record in the American Conference and just one game behind first, after holding a sub .500 as recently as March 11.
“Once again impressed with the growth we have seen out of this team since the beginning of the season,” head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “They continue to improve on both ends of the field.”
With non-conference play over, Florida’s focus shifts towards a competitive AAC. First up on the slate is the Cincinnati Bearcats.
The Bearcats are 6-6 on the season, a respectable record, but their level of competition early on doesn’t compare to Florida’s resume. Cincy holds a subpar 1-4 record at home, something for the Gators to look forward too heading into Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“Looking forward to starting conference play on Sunday,” O’Leary said.
Opening draw is set for April 3 at 11 a.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.