No. 1 Gators Escape Great Danes to Advance to Quarterfinals

UAlbany's defense succeeded in keeping Florida off the board for the remaining 14 minutes of the half, and with 11:28 to go in the period, Jess Antelmi was able to drive the ball around the goal circle and bounced in the Great Danes' first goal of the afternoon.

Ariana Parker won the opening draw of the second half, and after a scoreless 13-and-a-half minutes of play, Antelmi sent a one-timer to Amanda Pollock, who cut Florida's lead to two, 4-2.

Haydon Judge (Chestertown, Md.) won the ensuing draw, and after nearly 30 minutes without a Gator goal, Shannon Gilroy netted a free-position goal at 15:19. Less than two minutes later, Cullen drove in from out to the left, splitting a strong defensive attempt, to net her first goal of the afternoon and put Florida back ahead by four, 6-2.

Florida continued to dominate on the draw, but UAlbany's patient possessions kept the ball out of Florida's prolific attackers' sticks.

"When they do that, it is really important to continue talking to each other," said junior defender Sam Farrell (Millersville, Md.), "keeping the energy up and continue working for each other. (We) just need to know at any minute they are going to get us in a lull and they are trying to slow us down and at any minute they can go to goal. We just have to be ready for that."

As the clocked ticked down, the Great Danes' patience continued to pay off, as UA worked at chipping away at Florida's lead. Ariana Parker netted a free-position goal at 7:29, and with 4:23 remaining in regulation, Antelmi bounced in her second goal of the day to cut the score to 6-4.

The final four minutes of the game had a new rhythm, as the Great Danes needed to speed up their attack and play with a greater sense of urgency. However, this resulted in a combined five turnovers and just one shot, by Florida's Shannon Gilroy, and as the clock ran to zero, UF came out on top with a final score of 6-4.

The Gators return to action next Saturday, May 19, to host the winner of Penn State and Towson's First Round game in the NCAA Quarterfinals. It marks the second-straight season that Florida has hosted both of the first two rounds. Florida will be in search of its first-ever Final Four appearance when the opening whistle blows at 12:30 p.m.

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