GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Senior attacker Kitty Cullen scored seven points as No. 2 Florida defeated No. 9 Loyola (Md.) 16-7 in non-conference action on Tuesday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
The Gators improved to 8-0 and earned their fourth win against a top-10 opponent already this year.
“I thought the team played really well and competed hard” head coach Amanda O’Leary said. “Loyola is a very good team and well coached so we had some good competition coming into this game, but I thought we played really well.”
Cullen led the Gators with five goals and two assists while sophomore midfielder Shannon Gilroy and senior attacker Brittany Dashiell each chipped in hat tricks to help the Gators score in double digits for the seventh consecutive game. Florida held the Greyhounds (2-3) to seven goals and hasn’t allowed more than seven in any game at home this season. Cullen recorded four goals for a consecutive game and has recorded multiple goals in the past six Florida victories.
Senior goalkeeper Mikey Meagher recorded eight saves in the win and also picked up two ground balls for her eighth win of the season. Senior defender Kayla Stolins had a career-high seven draw controls as the Gators won the draw-control battle 16-9. Dashiell also added three draw controls while Gilroy and sophomore midfielder Nora Barry each added two.
“The draw control is critical. When you’re able to dominate the draw control you’re able to offensively score and it kept it out of our defensive end, so it’s just such a huge part of the game,” O’Leary said.
Loyola made things interesting to start the second half, as it scored two quick goals after Barry opened the half up with a free-position goal. The Greyhounds cut the lead to one off a Hannah Schmitt goal at the 27:04 mark, but Florida responded with back-to-back goals from Wiegand and Cullen less than a minute apart to regain a three-goal lead.
|LOYOLA (MD.) VS. FLORIDA|
Dashiell made it a four-goal lead off an eight meter free-position shot and Cullen chipped in her fourth goal of the day at the 9:13 mark, helping the Gators go on an eight-goal scoring run in the second half. Florida held Loyola scoreless for the final 27:53 of the game.
Seven different Gators scored in the contest, including a goal from junior attacker Erin Graziano on an assist from her sister and sophomore attacker Nicole Graziano with 2:25 left in the game. Senior attackers Ashley Bruns and Gabi Wiegand each found the back of the net in the game. Nicole Graziano tied Cullen for a team-high two assists, while Wiegand assisted on a Dashiell goal as well.
Cullen got things started for the Gators, scoring her first goal of the day just 40 seconds into the contest. She followed up less than a minute later with another goal as she assisted Dashiell to take a 3-0 lead early. Loyola’s Joanna Dalton cut the Florida lead to one on back-to-back goals, but the Gators rattled off three quick goals to go up 6-2 with 13:40 to play.
Loyola’s leading scorer Marlee Patton got on the board with a goal at the 12:37 mark, but things fell pretty quiet as both teams each scored one more goal before the half, giving the Orange and Blue a 7-4 halftime lead.