It's Gators' turn in NCAA lacrosse tourney

Florida's Sammi Burgess (2) shoots a goal during a lacrosse match against Georgetown at the Donald R. Dizney Stadium, in Gainesville Saturday April 29, 2017. The Gators beat the Hoyas 15-3 and won the Big East Conference Championship for the third straight year.

Brad McClenny/Staff Photographer
Published: Sunday, May 14, 2017 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 13, 2017 at 8:59 p.m.

NCAA Tournament play officially starts at 12 p.m. today in the second round for the third-seeded Florida lacrosse team against Southern California at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.

The Gators (17-2) and Trojans (17-3) will meet for the second time this season, as Florida claimed a 15-10 win Feb. 24. Southern California advanced to the second round after a 13-10 decision over Jacksonville on Friday. A date to the NCAA Quarterfinals against Boston College or Syracuse awaits the winner.

Tickets are $5 for adults, $3 for students and children and free for students with a Gator1 ID.

Florida, which had a first-round bye, enters on a nine-game win streak. The Gators own the nation's highest-scoring offense, with 17.05 goals scored per game. Senior Mollie Stevens (57 goals, 16 assists, 102 draw controls, 44 ground balls, and 23 caused turnovers) leads the way for Florida on the attack. Senior Caroline Fitzgerald (26 caused turnovers, 43 ground balls) and sophomore Haley Hicklen (137 saves, .493 save percentage) anchor the Gator defense.

Southern California has won 11 games in a row. The Trojans rank second in the NCAA in scoring defense, only allowing 7.3 goals per game. Senior attacker Michaela Michael (75 goals, 136 draw controls) and junior goalkeeper Gussie Johns (120 saves, 7.67 goals-against average) lead USC.

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