Gator lacrosse handles another ranked opponent

Published: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 6:03 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at 6:03 p.m.

Facing their fifth ranked opponent of the season Tuesday, the No. 3 Florida lacrosse team received career-high scoring performances from sophomores Shayna Pirreca and Lindsey Ronbeck en route to a 19-12 win over No. 5 Syracuse at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

“I felt pretty comfortable with how their defenders moved, and I was seeing those open gaps,” Ronbeck said. “We stayed composed during the times when Syracuse had a little bit of a run, but we had the confidence in ourselves and our teammates to know we weren't going to slip under.”

Playing their fourth game in nine days, Florida never trailed as Ronbeck opened the scoring 41 seconds in with a shot from close range that went right by Syracuse goalkeeper Asa Goldstock.

The Gators (6-1) had built a 4-0 lead in the opening minutes before Syracuse's Riley Donahue notched a pair of goals less than 90 seconds apart. But the Syracuse (7-2) defense had no answer for Ronbeck or Pirreca as UF took a 13-5 lead into the halftime break.

“Breakout game for Lindsey I think,” UF coach Amanda O'Leary said. “She just has so much potential and I think today we saw really what she can do and how dangerous she can be.

Goldstock was pulled with five minutes remaining in the first half for freshman goalkeeper Bri Stahrr, and despite the sizable lead, Florida didn't let off the gas in the second half.

Ronbeck finished the match with a career-high six goals, while Pirreca's five goals matched her career-high for the Gators.

Mollie Stevens added two goals and won six draw controls in the circle for the Gators, who finished with 14 draw controls to Syracuse's 18.

Stevens finished the match with 44 draw controls on the season, putting her on pace to break Shannon Gilroy's program record of 82 set during the 2014 season.

The Gators have the rest of the week off before traveling to Storrs, Connecticut, to open conference play against UConn (2-4) on Saturday at 12 p.m.

“I think they came out of the locker room engaged, ready to play,” O'Leary said. “This was a long stretch for us. But I just talked to them about their mental toughness, they played through their sore bodies and it didn't even show out there.”

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