This year’s American Conference women’s lacrosse tournament marked the third postseason for the sport in conference history. For the third year in a row, there will only be one champion of the American Conference: the Florida Gators.

No. 8 Florida (15-4, 5-0 AAC) defeated Vanderbilt (11-6, 3-2 AAC) 18-7 on Saturday for its third-straight American Conference title. Gators star Danielle Pavinelli led the team with six goals in the win.

Both teams got out to a solid start in a competitive first period. Vandy midfielder Kayla Rieu drew first blood finding the back of the net just two minutes into the contest.

The two teams continued trading goals throughout the first quarter, and found themselves tied before sophomore attacker Maggi Hall scored to put the Gators up 4-3 at the end of the first.

Despite defeating Vanderbilt 16-8 earlier in the season, UF looked evenly matched by the Commodores early on Saturday. Vandy snuck into the conference final in overtime after erasing a three-goal deficit to second seed Temple.

Florida began to pull away in the second quarter. It added on four unanswered goals before Vanderbilt could respond with 2:17 remaining in the half. Junior midfielder responded with the second of her four goals on the afternoon to put the Gators up 9-4 entering the half.

Sarah Reznick and the Gators defense put up their best stretch entering the second half, allowing just eight shots on goal — the lowest of any quarter in the game. Reznick also recorded six saves in the second half, doubling her first half total.

UF continued to go on long scoring runs. It tripled Vanderbilt’s scoring in both of the final two quarters. Florida scored three straight goals in the final seven minutes of the game to close out its championship-winning performance.

Next, Florida will look towards the NCAA tournament beginning May 13. The Gators should expect a favorable seeding after winning their conference title and finishing ranked 8th nationally.

The NCAA tournament selection show begins Sunday, May 9 at 9 p.m. The selection show will be broadcast on ESPNU.

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