One of the key moments in the game came when Jamie Ortega got onto the board to make the score 7-4. The Tar Heels had just gotten two in a row they were looking confident. If they had managed to cut it even closer before the half, North Carolina would have been able to come back.
Instead, the Gators retaliated with two quick goals. UNC got one more before the break, but Florida owned a 9-5 lead.
The second half wasn’t any kinder to the Tar Heels, as Florida continued to assert its dominance.
McCool got a lot more aggressive in this half, scoring three of her four goals. But while she was finding some space, the team as a whole continued to struggle. North Carolina actually outshot the Gators 39-29, but Florida goal keeper Haley Hicklen finished with 16 saves.
Florida methodically grinded down North Carolina and it became apparent who was coming away with the win. The Gators cruised in the final 30 minutes and ran away with a 17-10 victory.
Who stood out?
Marie McCool was once again the senior leader for this team, directing for teammates and taking matter into her own hands on several occasions. She was clamped down for much of the first half, but she brought her scoring total up to 22 goals on the season.
Redshirt senior Maggie Bill returned to action for the first time since she suffered a knee injury on April 8, 2017. Bill is still working into playing shape, but she was able to get into the scoring column in the first half. She was playing like an All-American before her injury last year, and she could be a massive boost to this team when she gets back to 100 percent.
When was it decided?
The game was decided in the first 10 minutes of the second half. Despite being outplayed in the first half, four goals is by no means an insurmountable lead. However, Florida refused to budge from there. The visitors netted the first two goals of the half and the mood in Kenan Memorial stadium took a shift. At the 21:21 mark, the Gators capped off a 4-1 run to start the half, and their lead jumped to six and the game already felt over.
Why does it matter?
North Carolina’s schedule is, as always, stacked. The Tar Heels are facing the top teams in the country every week, so there’s no time to take games off. The young talent on this roster has to learn to play in this level of game on a weekly basis, and that’s very demanding. A loss like this might be good to wake up some of those players, especially considering that Florida is a top-10 team and it is out of conference.
When do they play next?
The team will have a full week off before they go up to Charlottesville to take on No. 11 Virginia next Saturday.
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