UF wins Big East Tournament

Florida's Lindsey Ronbeck (14) hugs Madisyn Kittell (1) after Kitten scored a goal during a lacrosse match against Georgetown at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville. The Gators beat the Hoyas 15-3 and won the Big East Conference Championship for the third straight year.

[Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun]
Published: Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 7:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 6, 2017 at 7:22 p.m.

VILLANOVA, Pa. - The Florida lacrosse team claimed its fifth conference tournament title overall, its fourth conference title in a row and third Big East Tournament title in a row Saturday after an 18-12 win over Denver (14-4).


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The Gators have earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and will await the selection show at 9 p.m. today on NCAA.com to find out where they have been seeded.

The Gators (17-2) scored 39 goals over the span of two tournament games, breaking their own record from 2015 for most goals scored in a Big East Tournament.

"Today was a battle," UF coach Amanda O'Leary said. "I couldn't be more proud of how this team came out from the opening draw and never let up. All the credit to Denver for being prepared and giving us a great game. Now we look forward to NCAA play."

Tournament Most Outstanding Player Mollie Stevens stuffed the stat sheet against the third seed Pioneers (14-4), scoring five goals, two assists, six draw controls, two caused turnovers and two ground balls. Stevens scored 10 goals in Florida's two tournament games, tying the Big East Tournament record for most goals scored in a single tournament.

Florida, which has won 22 consecutive Big East games dating back to the 2015 season, was able to control the pace of the game by winning a 20-12 edge in the draw circle.

Sophomore attacker Lindsey Ronbeck recorded a double hat trick with three goals and three assists, to go along with three draw controls. Midfielder Sydney Pirreca chipped in five points (three goals, two assists) and three draw controls.

The Gator defense was anchored by a strong performance from freshman defender Cara Trombetta, who caused a career-high three turnovers. Florida limited Denver to shoot just 38 percent in the game. Sophomore goalkeeper Haley Hicklen turned in 12 saves and a .500 save percentage against the Pioneers, marking her fifth game this season with at least 10 saves and a .500 save percentage.

Making the Big East All-Tournament team for UF: Hicklen, Sammi Burgess, Caroline Fitzgerald, Lindsey Ronbeck and Stevens.

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