VILLANOVA, PA. 5/6/2017 – The top seeded University of Florida Gators won the Big East Women’s Lacrosse Championship Tournament with an 18 – 12 victory of the Denver Pioneers at Villanova Stadium. With the win #2 Florida earns the Big East Automatic Qualifier to the upcoming NCAA Women’s Lacrosse Championships, and should get a high seed.
The Gators are a high scoring, fast paced team. To defeat the Pioneers, who like a slow and defensive battle, Florida needed to get a fast start and keep the pressure on Denver. And that is precisely what they did by winning 13 of 16 draw controls in the opening half, and took a 27 – 9 edge in shots.
Attacker Molly Stevens got the first two goals of the game in less than a minute and a half. The Gators went out to a 4 – 0 lead before the Pioneers got their first score at 20:59 on a free position goal by midfielder Annie Lyman.
With the game at 6 – 3 in favor of Florida, the Gators would go on a 5 – 0 run with Stevens and midfielder Carli Marsh scoring twice. Stevens scored the tenth Gator goal in dagger fashion scooping up a turnover by the Pioneer goal keeper just outside the crease and sending it home. Attacker Julia Feiss, who had 5 goals for Denver, closed out the scoring in the first half. The Gators led 11 – 4.
The lead would grow to 11 – 5 on the fifth goal by Stevens. The Pioneers put on a rally scoring four in a row to cut the deficit to 14 – 9 an a goal by Feiss at the 15:56 mark. The Gators answered 12 seconds later on a goal by midfielder Lindsey Ronbeck to blunt the charge.
Stevens had a game-high 7 points. Ronbeck had 3 goals and 3 assists. Marsh and the Pirecca sisters, Shyna and Sydney had multiple goals.
For Denver Emily Conway contributed 4 scores.
Florida had a 48 – 32 edge in shots, and had 20 draw controls to 12 for Denver. Stevens won a game-high 6 draws.
Stevens was named the Most Outstanding Player scoring 10 goals in the tournament.
Florida finishes the season with a 17 – 2 record and will wait to see their place in the tournament bracket.
Denver closes out the year at 14 – 4. The Pioneers are a nationally ranked team, # 16, and awaits the decision of the Selection Committee.
Written By: Glenn Papazian