Season Begins For No. 13 Women's Lacrosse At No. 7 Florida Saturday

Feb. 3, 2016

Game Information
Opponent No. 7 Florida Gators
Date Saturday, February 6, 2016
Time Noon
Location Gainesville, Florida | Donald R. Dizney Stadium
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Saturday's Game
Loyola is beginning its 44th season of women's lacrosse competition earlier than ever.
The game will be the season opener for both Loyola and Florida.
Both teams were conference champions in 2015, as Loyola won a second-straight Patriot League title and Florida won the BIG EAST title during its inaugural season.
This will be the fourth-straight year Loyola and Florida have met, including the second-straight year in Gainesville. The Gators have won all three contests.
Both teams have been nationally ranked in each meeting with Loyola playing as the underdog all four times.
This year's matchup will pit a pair of Canadian National Team teammates against each other. Assistant coaches Dana Dobbie (Loyola) and Crysti Foote (Florida) helped Canada to a bronze medal at the 2009 World Cup in Prague and then led the Canadians to their first-ever silver medal at the 2013 World Cup in Oshawa, Canada.
Three Greyhounds will be playing in their home state; sisters Maddy and Olivia Blakeman (Vero Beach) and Bailey Mathis (Lake Worth).

Loyola Greyhounds (0-0, 0-0 Patriot League)
In graduating four starting attackers and two midfielders, Loyola lost 88 percent of its scoring from a year ago (373 of 424 points), including 85.6 percent of its goals (243 of 284) and 93 percent of its assists (130 of 140).
With 17 goals last year, senior Maddy Blakeman is the team's top returner scorer.
Defensively, the Greyhounds boast a pair of ILWomen Preseason All-Americans.
Senior Maddy Lesher , a two-time Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year and the League's preseason favorite for the award again this season, was one of five defenders named to the Preseason All-America First Team.
Senior Molly Wolf was included as the Preseason All-America Second Team goalkeeper, coming in behind only UNC's Caylee Waters, the first-team selection.
Lesher, Wolf and junior defender Bailey Mathis were voted to the 12-member Preseason All-Patriot League Team, while Loyola, winners of all 16 of its regular-season League games, was picked as the favorite in the Preseason Poll for a third-straight year.
The Greyhounds' 10-member freshman class was ranked ninth nationally by ILWomen.

Florida Gators (0-0, 0-0 BIG EAST)
Florida, coming off a BIG EAST title, looks to replace Shannon Gilroy, a Tewaaraton Finalist who finished 2015 ranked second in the NCAA with 74 goals and 98 points.
On offense, the Gators return Mollie Stevens (43g, 52pts) and Nicole Graziano (26g, 40pts), while All-American Caroline Fitzgerald (32gb, 21ct) returns to the defense.
In goal, Mary-Sean Wilcox returns after posting an 8.41 GAA and .409 save percentage.
Florida also brings in the top-two ranked freshmen, Sydney Pirreca and Lindsey Ronbeck.

Series History
The Loyola-Florida series began in 2013 and Loyola is still looking for its first win.
The Gators were ranked in the top-five nationally each of the first three years, but open this year as the seventh-ranked team in the nation.
In 2014, Loyola, ranked 12th at the time, had a chance to upset then-No. 5 Florida at Ridley Athletic Complex, but the Gators put together a four-goal run to tie the score at 13 with 4:22 to play. Nora Barry then scored the game-winner with 37 seconds left.
Loyola also traveled to Florida in 2013 and 2015, falling 16-7 and 11-8, respectively.

Early Birds
The Greyhounds open their season earlier than ever this year, traveling to Florida on Saturday, Feb. 6.
Loyola will also head to Syracuse on Sunday, Feb. 14, giving the team two games earlier than ever.
Prior to this year, the earliest the Greyhounds had ever started a season was in 2010, when Loyola lost at No. 18 Penn State, 9-8, on February 14.

Season Openers
The Greyhounds hold an all-time record of 28-14-1 in season openers and a 15-9 mark when opening the season on the road.
Under Jen Adams , Loyola is 3-4 in season openers, with two losses being one-goal decisions.
This will be the ninth time in the last 10 years that the Greyhounds will open their season against a nationally ranked opponent, while this will be the earliest that Loyola has ever opened its season.
Loyola is 5-7 against nationally ranked foes in a season opener, including dropping a 10-8 match at No. 15 Princeton last year.

Up Next
The Greyhounds will remain on the road for a second-straight contest, as Loyola travels to Syracuse on Sunday, Feb. 14.
Opening draw in scheduled for noon in the Carrier Dome.