"It was a great season," Florida head coach Amanda O'Leary said. "Unfortunately, nobody likes to lose, especially this far in the game, but I'm so proud of these guys. They worked so hard…it's devastating, but at the same time, what a tremendous season."
Florida was led by sophomores Ashley Bruns (one goal, three assists) and Kitty Cullen (two goals, one assist) to combine for seven points. Sophomore attacker Caroline Chesterman and sophomore midfielder Janine Hillier each scored two goals. Midfielders Brittany Dashiell and Colby Rhea each chipped in with one goal.
It was a back-and-forth affair throughout the entire game. It was close early before Duke went on a run that saw the Blue Devils take a 6-3 advantage into halftime.
The Gators fought back early in the second half. Florida started the half on a 4-1 run that even the score at seven. After the Gators took their first lead since early at the 1-0 mark, Duke took advantage of Florida turnovers and rode a 5-0 run to close the game.
"As we were thinking how to defensively shut them down, it's a challenge to shut down so many offensive firepowers," O'Leary said. "They scored a few goals on an open net because we pulled Mikey (Meagher) out to play defense."
Florida outshoot Duke 23-21 and picked up ten ground balls, compared to Duke's nine. Duke had a 13-11 advantage on the draws.
The loss hurts for the team that experienced so much success early in the year, but it's hard for them not to look towards the future. After a sophomore-led team set multiple records this year, it sets up for a big season in 2012.
"It's unfortunate that we lost," Hillier said. "We're going to carry this feeling to next season and play with a chip on our shoulder and just come out strong…and that all starts now."
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