Kimmy Weinstock stood on the sideline beside Morgan Glassford with 21 minutes, eight seconds remaining at Villanova Stadium. The freshman midfielder put her arm around the senior midfielder’s shoulder as they watched time wind down in Thursday’s Big East Conference semifinal.
The University of Florida (16-2, 9-0 Big East), ranked No. 2 in the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association Poll, came away with the 21-9 victory. It was Florida’s second win against Temple (13-5, 6-3 Big East) in the past two weeks and its second win against the Owls in the Big East tournament in the past two years.
“This is the best team game we have played all season long,” Rosen said. “No one will believe that looking at the score, but they played as a team today from the defensive end, to the midfield, to the offensive end and played with more fight from start to finish than we have all year. To walk away ending our season like that, we walk away with our heads held very high.”
Florida will play No. 16 University of Denver on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Villanova Stadium in the Big East championship game. The Gators are looking to win their third straight Big East title.
A 6-0 Gators run that lasted through the first 18 minutes of the second half put Florida up 20-5 and helped seal its win. Graduate attacker Brenda McDermott ended the Gators’ run when she scored her fourth of a team-high five goals with 12:31 remaining. Senior attacker Anna Frederick scored her second goal of the game four minutes later to make the score 20-7.
After being held scoreless for nine minutes, freshman midfielder Lexi Bolton found the goal to put the Gators up 21-7. Senior attacker Carly Demato answered right back with her second goal of the day on a free-position shot to make the score 21-8 with 2:17 left.
McDermott scored her final goal as an Owl with 19 seconds left on the clock to give Temple its ninth goal.
“It’s definitely a good game to go out on ending my lacrosse career,” McDermott said. “But what we experienced on the field tonight was something I never could have asked for. Just the energy everyone brought was awesome, and it was the ultimate experience to end your career on and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
Temple won the first draw control of game, but the Gators took an early 3-0 lead in the first six minutes. McDermott scored first for Temple with 19:13 left after the referees called a foul on Florida freshman defender Cara Trombetta.
Florida finished with 18 draw controls to Temple’s 13. When the two teams met on April 22, Florida finished with 19 draw controls while holding the Owls to three.
“We adjusted some of our draw stuff,” Rosen said. “We knew that it’s a shortened field so we would get a chance to get in on more of the draws, which I think we did a good job off battling for all of them.”
Temple made it a one-goal game when Frederick found the goal after picking up a ground ball from sophomore midfielder Amber Lambeth’s missed free-position shot with 18:37 to play in the first half.
“Offensively we tried to play a much less predictable offense,” Rosen said. “We freelanced a lot more and focused on just trying to tire out Florida a little bit. We wanted to frustrate them by playing a controlled game.”
The Gators ended Temple’s stretch of back-to-back goals when senior attacker Mollie Stevens scored her first of five goals with 16:09 left in the first half and to put the Florida up 4-2. The Gators then scored back-to-back goals to extended their lead 6-2 with 12:48 to play.
McDermott caused a turnover and wove around defenders to find the goal with 11:41 remaining in the first half and make the score 6-3. Demato found the goal for the Owls less than two minutes later to put Temple within two.
The Gators held Temple scoreless for the next eight minutes of play and went on a 7-0 run to take a lead 13-4 with 5:37 left to play in the first half. McDermott ended Florida’s run with 2:34 left when she drove to the goal to make the score 13-5. The Gators found the goal less than a minute later to retake a nine-goal lead.
“We are going to remember what happened here,” freshman goalkeeper Maryn Lowell said. “And we are going to remember this feeling and next year we are going to change the outcome.”
Tessa Sayers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SayersTessa. Follow The Temple News @TheTempleNews and @TTN_Sports.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the University of Denver’s ranking as 13th instead of 16th.