Friday May 6, 2011Gators Advance to First ALC Tournament Final
Photo by Mike Strasinger
Photo by Mike Strasinger
The No. 1 seeded Florida lacrosse team reached its first American Lacrosse Conference Tournament final after the Gators defeated fourth-seeded Ohio State, 16-13, on Friday afternoon at VU Lacrosse Complex. The Orange and Blue move to Saturday’s Championship game to face No. 2 seed Northwestern, who defeated third-seeded Penn State, 14-3. The Gators and the Wildcats will relive their epic 13-11 April matchup at 1:00p.m. on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Gators have given head coach Amanda O’Leary 15 wins in a single season, the most of her head coaching career. Florida is now 15-2 on the season while Ohio State falls to 10-7.
Florida was led by sophomore attacker Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.) and sophomore midfielder Janine Hillier (Farmingdale, N.Y.) with six points apiece, both with four goals and two assists. Hillier’s goal and point totals were new career bests and her two assists tied her current career high. Hillier was also three-for-three from free position. Tewaaraton nominee Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) had a hat trick for the 15th game this season, adding an assist, two draw controls, a ground ball and a caused turnover. Sophomore midfielder Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) had two goals on the afternoon, as well as a game-high five draw controls and three ground balls. Sophomore attacker Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.), junior attacker Caroline Cochran (Annapolis, Md.) and sophomore midfielder Colby Rhea (Abington, Md.) added a goal apiece.
The Gators jumped out to a 5-0 lead sparked by Rhea’s score from Bruns just two minutes into the contest. Cullen found the back of the net less than a minute later to put Florida ahead by two. Hillier began her scoring tear with a goal from free position 5:03 into the contest. Hillier then found the back of the net on another free position after Ohio State’s Kirsten Donahue received a yellow card for her defense on Hillier. Bruns scored a goal of her own a little over 10 minutes into the game to put the Gators ahead, 5-0. The Buckeyes were able to stunt the Gators’ scoring thanks to goals by Maghan Beaudrault and Gabby Capuzzi from Brittney Zerhusen and Jayme Beard, respectively. Florida had an answer, as Cullen scored off free position and Bruns scored from Hillier to stretch the Gators’ lead back to five.
Beard scored again for the Buckeyes before the Orange and Blue were able to gain their biggest lead of the game behind a goal from Bruns and a Chesterman score from Hillier. Ohio State took over scoring for nearly the rest of the half, as Donahue, Zerhusen and Jacqueline Orona assisted the Buckeyes into cutting the Florida lead to three, 9-6. Cullen had the final goal of the half unassisted to put the Gators into halftime, ahead 10-6.
Florida picked up the second half where they left the first, as Hillier scored unassisted less than two minutes into the half and Dashiell scored back-to-back, once from free position and her second on a feed from Bruns, to put Florida ahead, 13-6, typing their largest lead of the afternoon. Ohio State wasn’t about to back down, going on a 5-0 run behind Orona, Beaudrault, Beard and First Team All-ALC attacker Alayna Markwordt. The Buckeyes pulled within two, 13-11, keeping possession for over 10 minutes. Hillier was able to stop the Gators’ scoring draught, scoring from free position to put Florida back on the board with less than 10 minutes to play. Markwordt scored again unassisted before Bruns scored her fourth goal of the game from Cullen to get ahead, 15-12.
Ohio State moved to change goalies in the closing minutes of the game and Cochran was able to score on an open goal as their second goalkeeper, Megan Fiorito, was charged with the goal while running from the sideline. Ohio State’s starting goalkeeper, Annie Carruthers, had 10 saves on the afternoon.
The Gators outshot the Buckeyes, 29-24, and won the battle on the ground, scooping 15 ground balls to Ohio State’s 12. Ohio State had 13 turnovers to Florida’s 5, their lowest amount of turnovers in 2011.
Live video for the Gators’ matchup with Northwestern will be available on VUCommodores.com. The live audio can be found on www.GatorZone.com with Kailey Mizelle on the call.