Friday April 6, 2012Gators Head North For ALC Matchup at No. 19 Johns Hopkins
The No. 5 Florida lacrosse team continues the American Lacrosse Conference season on Saturday with a trip to Baltimore, Md., to take on the No. 19 Blue Jays of Johns Hopkins University. The Gators (12-2, 2-0 ALC) hope to extend their eight-game winning streak, while the Blue Jays (7-3, 0-1 ALC) look for their first conference win of the year. Opening draw at Homewood Field is set for 1 p.m.
Head Coach Amanda O’Leary captured her 200th career victory on Sunday, defeating No. 10 Penn State, 20-11, in ALC play. Freshman Shannon Gilroy (Northport, N.Y.) led the team with five goals and seven draw controls to earn her first career weekly honor, being named ALC Rookie of the Week. Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.) scored four goals in the game, and Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) and Nicole Graziano (Mendham, N.J.) each scored five points, with Dashiell notching three assists and two goals and Graziano recording three goals and two assists.
Penn State struck first, going ahead 2-0, then 3-1, but a series of yellow cards gave the Gators an offensive advantage, and Florida went on to score six straight goals, including four consecutive man-up tallies, to take a 7-3 lead. After a Molly Fernandez score broke the silence for Penn State at 14:27, the Gators followed with a 4-1 run to go ahead 11-5.
The Nittany Lions found the back of the net with two seconds remaining in the first, but the momentum went back to the Gators at the start of the second, who opened with the first two goals. Penn State did not quit, but was unable to come all the way back, falling by a final score of 20-11.
The Gators and Blue Jays have faced each other three times over the past two seasons, with Florida holding a 2-1 edge on the series. Johns Hopkins took the first contest at home on Mar. 13, 2010, by a score of 16-8, in the Gators’ first-ever ALC game. Florida bounced back in the postseason, winning its first ALC Tournament as the No. 6 seed, downing third-seeded Hopkins, 14-3. The Gators were victorious once again in the 2011 regular season, winning 14-10 on Apr. 9.
Johns Hopkins is having a solid season, sitting at 7-3 with quality wins over No. 15 Georgetown and No. 14 Princeton. The Blue Jays’ three losses were all to top-25 teams in Loyola, Vanderbilt and Stony Brook, with each contest being decided by four or fewer goals.
As a team, the Blue Jays rank 12th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of nine goals per game, 16th in scoring margin (3.70), and 10th in draw controls, averaging 14.7.
The Blue Jays are led on offense by sophomore Taylor D’Amore, who has 22 goals, 20 assists and 39 draw controls on the season. Senior Candace Rossi follows with 18 goals and 18 assists, and 2011 First-Team All-ALC selection Colleen McCaffrey has 25 goals and 28 draw controls.
Freshman KC Emerson and junior Cosette Larash have split time in goal, as two-time ALC Rookie of the Week Emerson has 43 saves, a .467 percentage and an 8.82 GAA in 333:19, and Larash has 20 saves, 41 goals allowed, a .328 save percentage and a 9.22 GAA. Both goalkeepers’ GAA rank in the top 15 in the nation.
The radio broadcast of the game will be streamed live on GatorZone, with Mike Gillespie on the call. LiveStats will be presented by GameTracker, and be sure to follow @GatorZoneLAX on Twitter for in-game updates from the press box.