“I thought they played really well,” said Head Coach Amanda O’Leary. “I thought we rebounded well from the North Carolina loss. We definitely improved offensively, taking care of the ball, finishing our shots and I thought that defensively we did a great job. The defenders came up when we were man down, which we were quite a few times, so I couldn’t be more thrilled with this win tonight.”
Freshman Nora Barry (Marcellus, N.Y.) led the team with five goals and a school record-tying six draw controls, while the Gators put up a total of 10 assists, their second most in team history.
Junior transfer Gabi Wiegand (Bay Shore, N.Y.) tied Barry with five goals while adding an assist, and Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) led the team with a career-high-tying three assists and a goal. Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.) notched two assists and a goal, and Krista Grabher (Vero Beach, Fla.) added a pair of assists, her first-ever multi-assist game.
“The newcomers are just really dynamic. Nora (Barry) playing the entire midfield. She played defense, she played midfield, she played attack. She just did it all tonight. Then Gabi (Wiegand), what a fantastic finish she had to all of her shots. Nicole Graziano (Mendham, N.J.) did a great job as well and Sally Jentis (Bel Air, Md.). Our freshman really came through for us in a clutch. I am just really pleased with our newcomers. They have made a mark here at Florida.”
Goalkeeper Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.) led the Gators with four ground balls, followed by three each from Barry and Sam Farrell (Millersville, Md.). Farrell also was the lone Gator to force multi-turnovers (2).
Jen Cosgrove and Ali Hoffman each scored a pair of goals for the Dolphins, and Kaitlin Stewart scored the fifth.
Meagher made six saves and allowed five goals, while Karli Tobin stopped four shots and allowed all 14 for the Dolphins.
The Gators got on the board early, as Kitty Cullen converted a pass from Krista Grabher at 25:02 to record the first goal of the game. On the Dolphins’ next possession, Brittany Dashiell intercepted Nikki Erdely’s pass and sprinted all the way across field and into the arc. Dashiell made a quick flip to Gabi Wiegand close in on the righthand side, who laced it in at 22:34 for the Gators’ second goal.
Five minutes later, Grabher slung a short pass to Wiegand out to the right, who whipped it in for goal number three. Exactly four minutes after that, at 13:50, Wiegand scored her third straight goal, the first of just two unassisted Gator goals.
Shortly before halftime, with 27 seconds left on the clock, Barry scored her first career goal in the Orange and Blue, assisted by Bruns, as the Gators headed to the locker room riding a 5-0 lead.
Barry opened the second half just as she ended the first, converting a pass from senior Caroline Cochran (Annapolis, Md.) at 27:18 for the sixth goal of the contest. Just over a minute later, Dashiell netted a pass from Wiegand to make it 7-0 Gators.
At 24:24, the Dolphins finally found the back of the net, as Jen Cosgrove recorded an unassisted goal. Ali Hoffman then scored a second goal at 21:11. Kayla Stolins (Glen Arm, Md.) and Sam Farrell left the field with a pair of yellow cards just 19 seconds apart, and Hoffman capitalized on the double man-up opportunity, notching the Dolphins’ third goal and cutting the Gators’ lead to four, down 7-3.
The Gators responded with a flurry of goals, scoring six times in three minutes, three by Barry, two by Wiegand and one by Bruns, to take a commanding 13-3 advantage.
“Sometimes it just takes that one goal to get the momentum and everyone going,” said Barry. “I was happy that I was able to score those goals and help my team.”
Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) scored on a free position shot at 10:36 to make it 14-3, and the Dolphins knocked in two more before the final whistle blew, leaving a final score of 14-5.
The Gators hit the road Sunday to play UMBC in Baltimore, Md., in their first game of the season. Opening draw is set for 1 p.m.