WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 15, 2012
JU women fall to UF
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Missed opportunities bit JU more than the Gators did Wednesday as the Dolphins lost their season opener to Florida, 14-5.

The Dolphins (0-1) fell behind 5-0 at the half and 7-0 in the second half before finding themselves on three consecutive goals.

Sophomore Jen Cosgrove picked up where she left off in the team’s preseason exhibition against England and scored the Dolphins’ first goal of the season with 24:24 to play.

Classmate Ali Hoffman then followed with back-to-back goals in about a two-minute span. The first was an unassisted effort with 21:11 to play and the second came with 19:23 to go on a pass from freshman Holly Ventimiglia to pull JU to a 7-3 deficit.

The Gators (1-1) ran off seven consecutive goals and JU ended it scoring with goal by Kaitlin Stewart and Cosgrove’s second of the game.

“It’s disappointing,’’ JU coach Mindy McCord said. “We had an equal number of shots (20) and we’ve got to be able to execute. We were 1-for-11 for free positions and 1-for-6 on man up opportunities, we’re getting the opportunities, we’ve got to convert them.’’

The Dolphins slowed the ball down in the first half in an effort to thwart the fourth-ranked Gators’ offense and, of course, began challenging more in the second half as time wore off the clock.

The JU defense put the clamps on UF star Kitty Cullen who wound up with but a single goal. Two of her teammates, Gabi Wiegand and Nora Barry picked up the slack and scored five goals each.

“I’m sure they weren’t happy about that,’’ McCord said. “Certainly being able to hold her in scoring helps us to be more competitive. She’s obviously a great player.’’

Still, the game’s lament for McCord came down to the missed opportunities.

“It was about working our possession and getting a good look off it,’’ she said. “We’re putting the ball in our hands and we’ve got to put the ball in the net. We put ourselves in position to get the looks we got but we weren’t able to put them on cage tonight.’’

McCord acknowledged the Florida defense did its job.

“I thought their defense did a really nice job of putting pressure on us,’’ she said. “They’re fast and they jammed up a lot of our shooters and that’s something we’ve got to work harder on in practice is putting more pressure on our shooters so they get used to that.’’

JU’s next game is Feb. 26, the home opener against Siena.

- Jim Nasella