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Friday March 30, 2012Gators Host Penn State in ALC Home Opener Sunday for "Beat Cancer with a Stick" game

Gainesville, Fla.

No. 4 Florida (11-2, 1-0 ALC) will host No. 10 Penn State (8-2, 1-0 ALC) at 1 p.m. on Sunday in an American Lacrosse Conference matchup. The Gators’ ALC home opener will also be the “Beat Cancer with a Stick” game, put together by the National Foundation for Cancer Research, which is meant to promote health education in the community while raising funds to help eradicate cancer.

Fans are encouraged to attend the event to help increase awareness for this cause. Admission to the game is free. If any fan would like to donate to the NFCR, visit http://www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/mlnfcr/beat-cancer-with-a-stick.

Head Coach Amanda O’Leary, in her 17th season as a Division I women’s lacrosse head coach, will be going for her 200th career victory on Sunday, currently holding a 199-79 (.716) all-time record. O’Leary went 162-65 in 14 seasons at Yale University and has led the Gators to a 37-14 record over their first thee seasons. One of the most accomplished coaches in NCAA history, she ranks in the top 10 among active Division I coaches in winning percentage and total wins. Should the Gators win on Sunday, she would become the 12th women’s lacrosse coach in NCAA history to earn 200 career Division I victories.

Last Time Out: Freshmen Nicole Graziano (Mendham, N.J.), Nora Barry (Marcellus, N.Y.) and Taylor McCord (Jacksonville, Fla.) combined for 17 points on Wednesday night to lead the No. 4 Florida Gators to their highest goal total and first-ever shutout, defeating Fresno State, 29-0. The 29-0 final score is the most goals ever scored in a shutout victory in NCAA history and the third-largest margin of victory.

Nicole Graziano led the team with a career-high six goals, seven points and four draw controls. Barry scored five goals, four ground balls and two draw controls, and fellow-freshman Taylor McCord had a personal-best four goals and an assist. Gabi Wiegand (Bay Shore, N.Y.) also had five points, scoring three goals and two assists.

Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.) became the first Gator in school history to record 200 career points on a goal late in the first half, and finished the night with three goals and an assist. Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) hit the century mark in points, ending with a goal and a team-leading three assists.

In addition to the usual suspects, defenders Jamie Reeg (Atlantis, Fla.), Sam Farrell (Millersville, Md.) and Kayla Stolins (Glen Arm, Md.) all found the back of the net in the game, and Reeg also added the final assist of the night.

The Gators set several team records in the game, earning the most goals (29), most assists (12) most points (41), most draw controls (24), and tied their record for shots, outshooting the Bulldogs, 44-5. Florida was perfect through the midfield, going 12-for-12 on clears, and caused eight of the Bulldogs’ 16 turnovers, while losing the ball just seven times. The Gators also committed the fewest fouls ever, making just five.

UF tied its record with 17 points in the first half, then tied its second-half record with another 12. Florida scored the first 10 goals in the first 10 minutes, including three goals in the fifth minute of the game.

The Series: Florida and Penn State have faced each other twice in the past, with the Gators coming out on top in both matchups. The Gators defeated the Nittany Lions, 13-11, on Apr. 3, 2010, to claim their first-ever conference victory. They then captured a 13-7 win on Apr. 2, 2011, en route to a perfect, 5-0, ALC season. The two teams have only ever faced in the regular season, having never been pitted against each other in the ALC Tournament.

About the Nittany Lions: Penn State, like Florida, is 1-0 in ALC play and has just two losses, both of which came to nationally-ranked opponents. The Nittany Lions come down to Florida after winning eight of their first 10 games, falling only to No. 2 Maryland in a 6-16 tilt, and to No. 17 Loyola, 10-12, in double overtime. The Nittany Lions picked up a quality 14-7 victory over No. 6 Virginia and defeated No. 8 Vanderbilt, 12-11, in overtime in their ALC opener.

As a team, Penn State ranks 11th in the nation in scoring defense (8.60), 18th in scoring margin (3.70), 22nd in points (168) and 19th in ground balls (17.20).

Penn State is led by 2011 ALC Goalie of the Year Dana Cahill, who ranks eighth in the nation in save percentage (.520), ninth in saves (91) and 13th in goals-against average (8.54).

Sophomore attacker Mackenzie Cyr leads the team with 35 points (21g, 14a), followed by freshmen Maggie McCormick (13g, 17a) and Tatum Coffey (25g, 3a). Cahill, McCormick and Coffey have all earned ALC weekly honors this season.

Sunday’s Coverage: The ALC matchup will be broadcast on SportsRadio 850AM and can also be accessed online from the following outlets:

Video: www.GatorVision.tv

Audio: http://www.gatorvision.tv/mediaPortal/player.dbml?DB_LANG=C&DB_OEM_ID=6500&catid=0

LiveStats: http://gatorzone.cstv.com/gametracker/launch/?event=1029423&school=fla&sport=wlacros

Twitter: @GatorZoneLAX

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