Weekend Roundup: UF lacrosse falls to U.S. National Team and other notes

Aaron Albright / Alligator Staff Shayna Pirreca (center) dodges defenders during Florida’s 14-4 loss to Maryland on March 19, 2016, at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Neel finds success at Freeman Memorial

Ingrid Neel has only been a student at the University of Florida since Thursday. Nevertheless, the Gators’ women’s tennis team is already seeing the impact she can make.

Top-ranked Florida made its Spring season debut in Las Vegas this weekend at the Freeman Memorial Women’s Tennis Championships hosted by UNLV. Neel saw the most success in the singles draw, taking down Oklahoma State’s Katarina Adamovic 7-5, 6-2, and upsetting No. 9 Jessie Aney of UNC 7-6, 6-2 to make it to the semifinal round before her first collegiate run ended. Neel was defeated Sunday by defending national champion Melissa Lord of Stanford in a hard-fought 6-7, 6-4, 6-3 match. Lord went on to win the singles tournament.

The Gators now have just under two weeks to rest and prepare for their match with DePaul on Jan. 28 to open the ITA Kick-Off Weekend tournament. Despite the time off, the Gators are expected to enter the tournament with momentum.

On Thursday, Florida was selected to win a conference title for a second straight time in the SEC preseason coaches’ poll. Last year, the Gators were undefeated in the SEC and went on to win the program’s 20th SEC tournament title.

This, combined with the unparalleled experience of the team and the early success of Neel, should give the team confidence going into the tournament.

The Gators will open the day at 2 p.m. against DePaul. The winner of that match will face the winner of FIU and USF at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29.

– Spencer Thompson

One-goal loss to USA shows strengths, weaknesses of UF lacrosse team

The score was tied. After controlling most of the game, the U.S. Women’s National Team found itself fighting to stay in the lead.

Florida was making a late run, taking a 19-18 lead off of two Sammi Burgess goals.

But with 2:20 left, USA’s Marie McCool caught a pass at the top of the box, shook senior defender Caroline Fitzgerald and shot it past sophomore Haley Hicklen for the game-winning goal.

While the final score was close — a good sign for Florida heading into its season opener against the University of North Carolina — the game was one-sided as the Gators struggled to keep up with a dominant performance by USA for most of Sunday afternoon.But the odds were stacked against UF.Because the Gators were playing a national team, the game was played with international rules, meaning that penalties lasted the duration of the time instead of ending when the opposing team scored a goal.The Gators were also playing against some of the best women’s lacrosse players in the country.And it showed.From the early minutes, USA put the pressure on Florida, scoring eight goals within the first 14 minutes of the game.In the first half, the national team had a lead as large as five, while […]