JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Danielle Della Rocca's five goals led Jacksonville University (0-3) to a second half split with third-ranked University of Florida (1-1) in a 21-14 setback Monday at D.B. Milne Field. Each team scored nine times in the second half and Sydney Matthews tallied nine saves in the period.
It was a defensive slugfest to start the game as neither team scored until the 12:51 mark when Shayna Pirreca scored the first of two-straight. Amelia Pedwell rang in JU's first goal on a free position shot 11 minutes into the half. The Gators scored twice more before Danielle Della Rocca scored with 15:57 remaining in the half.
Florida reeled off four unanswered goals before Lillie Miller found the back of the net at 8:37. The teams traded goals with Della Rocca and Courtney Valdez scoring. The Gators scored the last two goals of the period to close with a 12-5 lead.
The Dolphins kept pace with Florida as each team scored nine times. Matthews started the second half at goal and registered nine saves.
The teams traded the first four goals with Rachel Aus and Valdez shooting between the pipes for JU.
After UF ran off consecutive goals at the 24:06 and 23:20 marks, Della Rocca and Aus sounded the horn to cut the Gator lead to 16-9 with 20:59 remaining. Della Rocca would score the next two JU goals, her fifth and final at 15:53. Valdez ended a scoring drought with an unassisted score at 9:40, and Kasey Stevens added a man-up goal at 4:39. Ashtyn Hiron tallied JU's final goal on an assist by Pedwell with 1:41 to go.
"I think offensively we met or exceeded our expectations. We felt like we gave Florida a couple of extra possessions in our clearing and draw control game. I think both teams shot the ball very well, and UF did a few things that we didn't have an answer for. I felt like we fought hard and did many good things scoring the most anyone has against them this year. Our freshman goalie, (Matthews) had nine saves which is lights out against a team like Florida. All in all, you have to feel good about the effort of this team with how they've played against the competition. We have a lot of room to grow from this, and you can only grow by playing teams like Florida. We are glad we can play them each year and we can see the gap starts to narrow." – JU Associate Head Coach Paul McCord.
The Dolphins went 11-18 in clears, won 13 draw controls, and had 16 ground balls. They were outshot by Florida, 40-30, and had 12 saves to Florida's nine. Jacksonville's 14 points were the most UF has allowed in a game this season and the most the Dolphins have ever scored in the series.
Jacksonville continues its eight-game home stretch with a Mar. 5 matchup against Davidson. First draw is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.