Florida crumbles in second half loss to James Madison

The Gators led 9-8 in the third quarter and needed to defeat James Madison. However, UF fell short and the Dukes took a five-point lead to win Saturday’s game.

The No. 8 Florida Gators (5-3) lost to the No. 7 James Madison Dukes (8-1) 14-9 in a top-ten battle. JMU proved their place in the standings and came out on top after playing three catch-up quarters.

After Florida junior forward Liz Harrison won the first tie, neither team scored until the 11th minute. Dukes junior forward Isabella Peterson found freshman midfielder Brianna Mennella to score the opening goal.

UF kept their composure and maintained a good defense. Gators redshirt senior goaltender Sarah Reznick saved two goals before sophomore forward Emma LoPinto scored the first point for UF.

James Madison senior striker Tai Jankowski fouled twice in a row and received a green card, temporarily removing her from the game. LoPinto took advantage and snuck around the crease to take the lead, 2-1.

Both teams settled in and went blow for blow for the rest of the first period.

Junior hitter Maggi Hall found junior hitter Danielle Pavinelli to give the Gators a 3-2 lead going into the second quarter.

Florida struggled in the first part of the second quarter and let James Madison score back-to-back to put the Dukes ahead 4-3.

Junior JMU defender Nicholle Marshall received a yellow card. Hall then took a penalty shot and tied the game at four. Hall followed up with a flow to LoPinto to open a two-point lead.

Pavinelli drew a shooting space call and scored the shot from free position to extend the Gators’ lead to 7-4. The Dukes responded with two straight goals to bring the score under one.

Freshman defender Theresa Bragg was sidelined for a previous yellow card when a cover was called against Pavinelli, and the Dukes found a scoring opportunity.

Florida was tied at seven with James Madison at halftime. Play slowed and both teams tightened their passes in the third quarter. Senior midfielder Emily Heller broke the tie with a penalty shot.

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JMU redshirt senior goaltender Molly Dougherty cleared the ball and the Dukes offense carefully passed it around to try and find an open shot on the Gators defense. James Madison scored with four seconds left on the shot clock to tie the game at eight.

Florida junior midfielder Madison Waters bounced the ball into the net to break the tie. However, Florida’s lead did not last long and James Madison tied the game at nine soon after.

JMU scored the next goal and put the Dukes ahead 10-9 – their first lead since holding a 4-3 second quarter advantage.

The Gators entered the final quarter one point behind.

Wanting to make up for it, Pavinelli was caught off guard with a dangerous shot and was taken out of the game on a yellow card.

JMU had an extra player and scored the first goal of the period with just six minutes left. The Dukes witnessed another goal soon after.

Florida never caught James Madison and lost by a final score of 14-9.

The Gators next face the Mercer Bears in Macon, Ga., at 3 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN+.

Contact Kate Wiggins @[email protected] Follow her on Twitter @katewigginz.

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Kate Wiggins

Kate Wiggins is a sophomore advertising major and women’s lacrosse reporter for The Alligator. Catch her pumping iron at Southwest Rec, dubbing her friends in class, or dancing at the nearest EDM concert.


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