NOTRE DAME, Ind. -- Sarah Wright (Jr., Oviedo, Fla.) scored four times to earn Player of the Game honors in leading No. 7 University of Florida to a 9-2 victory against No. 10 University of Utah in the opening round of the 2011 Women's National Collegiate Club Championship at the University of Notre Dame's Rolfs Aquatic Center.
With the victory, Florida advances to face No. 2-ranked the University of Michigan at 11:20 a.m. on Saturday, May 7 with a slot in tournament quarterfinals, while Utah falls into a meeting with No. 19 Cornell University at 8:40 p.m. later this evening.
In a game which saw the two teams draw just four ejections, ball control, defense and pace were the keys to victory for the Southeast Division champion Gators.
It took Florida just 25 seconds to find the back of the cage as Wright whipped a shot past Utah's Sarah Clos (Sr., Salt Lake City, Utah) at the 6:35 mark of the first period. Neither team could find the net again until Anna Autrey (Sr., Winter Park, Fla.) slipped the Utes' defense for a man-up marker to put the Gators in front 2-0 through seven minutes of competition.
The margin continued to expand as Maddie Gonzalez (So., Winter Springs, Fla.), Wright and Victoria Israels (Sr., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) netted goals at 6:35, 4:20 and 2:41, respectively, to start the second period and stake Florida to a 5-0 lead.
Utah attempted to climb back into the contest into the closing moments of the first half as Brianne Meddleton (Fr., Cedar City, Utah) rattled the iron with a blast at the 2:29 mark, but the Gators got the goal back before the close of the second period when Wright completed a hat-trick with 2:06 left on the clock.
The game was all Gators for most of the second half as Wright and Katie Ambrose (Jr., Orlando, Fla.) contributed goals in the third period before Stephanie Brandt (Jr., Orlando, Fla.) tacked on a goal with 5:16 left in the fourth period to give the Gators a 9-1 lead.
Utah sliced its deficit down to 9-2 with 3:09 left in the final period as Meddleton flipped in her second score of the afternoon, but the Florida defense combined with a seven-goal lead were too much for the Utes to overcome.
Gators' goalies Mary Kathryn Atkinson (Sr., Oviedo, Fla.) and Brooke Bohlken (Fr., Winter Springs, Fla.) combined for nine saves in keeping the Utah offense at bay for most of the contest, while Clos suffered the loss with five saves for the Utes.
|No. 10 University of Utah
|No. 7 University of Florida
Sarah Wright (4); Victoria Israels; Maddie Gonzalez; Stephanie
Brandt; Anna Autrey; Katie Ambrose
Utah Goals: Brianne Meddleton (2)
Saves: Florida - Mary Kathryn Atkinson (7), Brooke Bohlken (2) ; Utah - Sarah Clos (5)
Exclusions: Florida - 2 ; Utah - 2
Advantage Opportunities: Florida - 1-for-2 ; Utah - 1-for-2
Sprints: Florida - 2-for-4 ; Utah - 2-for-4
Officials: Don Lewis, Josh Kratz
Utah's Christina Sloan
attempts to shoot over a Florida defender