No. 2 Florida Defeats No. 4 Syracuse at Orange Bowl Classic

Florida is back in action on Tuesday when it hosts Loyola (MD) at Donald R. Dizney Stadium with a 6:30 p.m. opening draw.

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MIAMI -- No. 4 Syracuse's second-half comeback attempt wasn't enough in a 14-10 setback to No. 2 Florida on Saturday, Mar. 2. The game was played in Sun Life Stadium as part of the Orange Bowl Lacrosse Classic. The Orange is now 2-2 this season, while the Gators improve to 7-0.

Senior Michelle Tumolo (Mullica Hill, N.J.) led the Syracuse offense with five points on four goals and an assist. With her performance, Tumolo moved into third place on the Orange's all-time scoring list (248 points) and tied Monica Joines for fifth place on the career goals scored leader list (129 goals). Junior Alyssa Murray (West Babylon, N.Y.) finished with two goals and two assists. She now has 109 goals, which moves her into eighth place on Syracuse's all-time leader list.

Florida netted the first three goals of the game to take an early lead. Back-to-back goals by Murray and Tumolo cut the lead to one, but the Gators responded with three unanswered tallies to go up 6-2 at the 11:20 mark. With Florida leading 8-4, Tumolo scored on a free position attempt and senior Linley Block (Stratham, N.H.) followed with an unassisted goal to get the Orange within two, but the Gators posted the final three goals of the first half, the final coming with seven seconds on the clock, to take a 10-6 halftime lead.

Kitty Cullen recorded her third goal of the game at the 27:32 mark of the second half to give Florida its largest lead of the game at 11-6. Tumolo sparked Syracuse's comeback attempt when she scored on an assist from Murray. Murray then found the back of the net less than two minutes later, and junior Katie Webster (Syracuse, N.Y.) netted her first goal of the game to cut Florida's lead to two, 11-9, with 19:06 to play. That was as close as Syracuse could get. The Gators scored three straight goals to equal its largest lead and put the game out of reach. Sophomore Kailah Kempney (Carthage, N.Y.) scored at the 9:54 mark for the 14-10 final.

The game was Syracuse's third consecutive game against an opponent ranked in the top 10. Two of those opponents, including Florida, advanced to the Final Four last season.

“We play this tough schedule for a reason,” said Syracuse head coach Gary Gait. “We want to learn a little bit about ourselves and learn what we need to work on for the end of the season. We're 2-2. We have one big win and two games where we learned a lot. We have another 13 games to work on some things and get ready. There are more challenges ahead. Hopefully, by the end of the year we'll be ready to play.”

Florida outshot Syracuse, 26-22, and picked up 13 ground balls to seven for the Orange. Senior Becca Block (Stratham, N.H.) had six draw controls, leading SU to a 15-12 advantage in the circle. Sophomore Kelsey Richardson (Memphis, N.Y.) made three saves for Syracuse, while junior Alyssa Costantino (West Islip, N.Y.) had one save. Mikey Meagher had eight saves for the Gators.

The Orange is back on the road next weekend at No. 16/16 Towson on Saturday, Mar. 9 at 1:00 p.m.

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