Florida Gators lacrosse blasts Maryland, wins 20th straight, advances to first Final Four since 2012

By OnlyGators.com Staff
May 16, 2024
Florida Gators lacrosse blasts Maryland, wins 20th straight, advances to first Final Four since 2012

Image Credit: UAA

Thursday afternoon was a moment of celebration for Florida Gators lacrosse, which despite being unranked in the 2024 NCAA Tournament, has barreled through the competition to reach the program’s first Final Four since 2012. Florida dominated in the first half before prevailing 15-9 over the 14-time national champion No. 4 Maryland Terrapins in NCAA quarterfinal action to reach the summit of collegiate competition for the first time in more than a decade.

The Gators, which have now won a nation-best 20 straight matches after dropping their first two games of the season, are in the midst of an incredible run in Year 15 under head coach Amanda O’Leary.

Florida has either held opponents below double digits or won by 10+ goals in 14 consecutive matches dating back to March 16. In that span, it has outscored the competition 258-97 — an average of 11.5 goals per game. Despite that, UF was not among the top eight ranked teams when the NCAA Tournament seeding was set.

Opening with an 8-0 lead in the first quarter, Florida never took its foot off the gas. Though Maryland actually won the second half 7-5, UF’s 10-2 first-half advantage was too much to overcome across the later 30 minutes of the match.

Senior attacker Maggi Hall once again led the way for the Gators with six goals on nine shots, giving her 60 on the season. Senior attacker Danielle Pavinelli, Florida’s second leading scorer just behind Hall, was one of three players to post two goals.

While the Gators have been immensely successful throughout O’Leary’s tenure — shockingly so early on given the lacrosse program was founded in 2010 — they have been unable to completely break through nationally.

Florida has dominated conference play across the American, Big East and ALC with 12 regular-season titles and 11 tournament titles in 13 seasons. (UF will join the Big 12 in 2025.) It has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in all 13 seasons with 2024 serving as its seventh trip to the quarterfinals.

However, the Gators have not competed in the Final Four since 2012, the program’s third year of existence. Florida that season was the No. 1 team in the NCAA Tournament but dropped a semifinal heartbreaker 14-13 to No. 4-seed Syracuse in overtime.

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