GRESHAM, Ore. — Stephanie Zwicker (Gr., Gotha, Fla.) of Southeast Division Champion/No. 5-ranked the University of Florida scored five times to post Player of the Game honors as the Gators outscored Midwest Division Champion/No. 10 Lindenwood University by an 8-4 count in the second and third quarters for the difference in an 11-7 victory in the 2018 Women’s National Collegiate Club Championship Third Place game at Mt. Hood Community College.
It marks the fourth time Florida has finished in Third Place at the Women’s National Collegiate Club Championship as the program previously notched second (2001, 2006), third (2002, 2004, 2012), fourth (2003, 2016), fifth (2000, 2011), seventh (2008), eighth (2014) and ninth (2005, 2007) marks to always conclude the event among the Top 10 teams.
In a game that featured a combined 18 goals, neither team was able to muster much offense in the early going as Lindenwood pulled ahead 1-0 with 3:04 left in the first quarter via a man-up volley by Paige Miller (Fr., Bend, Ore.) prior to Zwicker balancing the scoreboard at one-all with an even-strength strike (1:47).
The pattern repeated itself in the early moments of the second quarter as Kelly Martin (Gr., Orlando, Fla.) lined in a five-meter penalty shot (5:16) to give Florida its first lead at 2-1, but the Lions received an even-strength equalizer by Naomi Sanders (Fr., Hollywood, Fla.) 21 seconds later to return the game to equilibrium at two-all.
Florida appeared primed to pull away midway through the second quarter as Martin drilled in power-play opportunity (4:35) and Zwicker zipped in a natural goal (3:26) to place the Gators ahead 4-2. However, the Lions roared back via back-to-back blasts from Isabella Boccia (Fr., Laguna Hills, Calif.) and Hanna Muller (Fr., East London, South Africa) with 3:09 and 2:42 on the clock, respectively, to again balance the scoreboard at four-all as neither team could acquire separation.
For Florida, the closing minutes of the second quarter proved decisive to claim the Third Place game as Zwicker took command of the game by uncorking six-on-five (2:14) and even-up (five seconds) strikes to grab a 6-4 lead prior to halftime.
Zwicker’s back-to-back tallies started a run by the Gators as Jessie Modrak (Jr., Weston, Fla.) pushed the margin to 8-4 with 90 seconds left in the third quarter by putting away a pair of shots (5:18, 1:35) to insulate Florida’s lead.
Dani Rust (Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio) corroded the difference between the teams to three by finding the back of the cage at the 1:19 mark, but Zwicker completed a hat-trick with 58 ticks to go in the frame for a 9-5 lead going into the fourth quarter of play.
Lindenwood chipped away at the Gators’ advantage on the scoreboard as Vladi Milutinovic (Jr., Chicago, Ill.) (even-strength, 6:42) and Emily Kini (Fr., Palatine, Ill.) (5:55, man-up) carved a pair of the Lions’ deficit to move within 9-7.
However, Zwicker put the contest out of reach by ticking off back-to-back tallies with 5:02 and 3:17 remaining in the game for the 11-7 final score.
For Florida, Zwicker accounted for nearly half of her team’s offense by notching five of the Gators’ 11 scores. Martin (four) and Modrak (two) also registered multi-goal games in support of a 14 save effort by winning goalie Mary Campbell (Gr., Orlando, Fla.). Emily Stevenson (Jr., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) closed out the game in cage with two stops.
Seven different players scored for Lindenwood in the game as Boccia, Miller, Sanders, Muller, Milutinovic, Rust and Kini each racked up solo strikes. Between the pipes Betsy Zanocco (Fr., Arlington Heights, Ill.) made our saves in 14 minutes to take the loss, while Harmony Moran (Fr., New Lenox, Ill.) swatted aside one shot in 14 minutes of action.
For the Lions, the program’s Fourth Place mark is the highest finish at the Women’s National Collegiate Club Championship for the school from Saint Charles, Mo. Previously Linwood tied for 15th in both 2007 at Williams College and 2008 at Mt. Hood Community College, while tying for 13th in 2011 at the University of Notre Dame. More recently, the program placed 12th in 2012 at Florida State University, notched a Fifth Place mark in 2013 at the University of Minnesota and garnered a Seventh Place finish in 2014 at the SPIRE Institute in Geneva, Ohio.
|1st Q||2nd Q||3rd Q||4th Q||–||FINAL|
|No. 5 University of Florida||1||5||3||2||–||11|
|No. 10 Lindenwood University||1||3||1||2||–||7|
|Lindenwood Goals:||Isabella Boccia; Paige Miller; Naomi Sanders; Hanna Muller; Vladi Milutinovic; Dani Rust; Emily Kini|
|Florida Goals:||Stephanie Zwicker (5); Kelly Martin (4); Jessie Modrak (2);|
|Saves:||Lindenwood – Betsy Zanocco (4, 14 minutes), Harmony Moran (1, 14 minutes) ; Florida – Mary Campbell (14, 25 minutes), Emily Stevenson (2, 3 minutes)|
|Exclusions:||Lindenwood – 9 ; Florida – 8|
|Advantage Opportunities:||Lindenwood – 2-for-8 ; Florida – 3-for-9|
|Sprints:||Lindenwood – 3-for-4 (1st, 2nd, 4th) ; Florida – 1-for-4 (3rd)|
|Officials:||Marvel Shoen, Julie Snyder|