UF Lacrosse: High-Powered Offensive Attack Leads Gators Past Bears

Photo by Courtney Culbreath

Courtesy of University Athletic Association


Florida scored 23 goals in the game, the third-highest total in program history; Kavanagh posts a new program record in draw controls

The sixth-seeded Florida lacrosse team used a high-powered offensive attack to cruise past the Mercer Bears 23-5 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Gators improve to 17-2 on the season, while the Mercer Bears ended their 2021 campaign with a 7-8 record overall. This is the seventh time in 12 seasons that UF has won at least 17 games, just two off the program record of 19 (2012).

Florida moved to 9-9 in NCAA Tournament play with the win and moved to 1-0 all-time against Mercer.

The Gators’ offense was firing against the Bears, scoring 23 goals on the evening – the third-best total in program history.

Brianna Harris and Shannon Kavanagh led Florida on the offensive front, each tallying five goals in the game. Grace Haus added four of her own in the win, while Paisley Eagan and Emily Heller each found the back of the cage twice in the game.

Five Gators scored a goal apiece in the victory: Danielle Pavinelli, Kassidy Bresnahan, Emerson Cabrera, Shelton Sawers, and Janine Suris.

Maggi Hall posted a career-best four assists on the evening, while Harris and Kavanagh dished out three and two helpers, respectively. Pavinelli and Jill Quigley each recorded one assist of their own in the game.

The Gators dominated the draw circle, winning 25-of-27 on the evening – the second-highest total in program history (26). Kavanagh set a new program record for draw controls in a game, tallying 16. That surpassed the previous record of 14 by two.

Florida’s defense lived up to its nationally-ranked name, holding the Bears to five goals in the game. In the first 37 minutes of the game, the Gators held Mercer to just one goal. Harris and Liz Harrison each recorded a caused turnover in the matchup.

Bresnahan, Hall, Harris, and Kavanagh each registered a team-high two groundballs in the game.

Sarah Reznick and Julia Hammerschlag were solid in the goal for Florida, totaling three saves in the cage.

The Gators take on the winner of Jacksonville/Vanderbilt in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday at The Diz. Opening draw is slated for 12 p.m. on ESPN3 and the game can also be heard on FloridaGators.com/watch.