Friday April 13, 2012Gators to Host No. 17 Vanderbilt Saturday in Regular Season Home Finale
The No. 5 Florida lacrosse team will take on No. 17 Vanderbilt on Saturday in the Gators’ final home game of the 2012 regular season. The Gators will honor Caroline Cochran (Annapolis, Md.) on Senior Day, who is soon to become the first scholarship lacrosse player ever to graduate from the University of Florida. The game will be broadcast statewide on Fox Sports Florida. Opening draw is set for noon.
Last Time Out: Florida extended its winning streak to nine games last Saturday, earning its first-ever overtime victory on the road at No. 19 Johns Hopkins. The Gators led by as many as four goals during the game, but trailed by one with just seconds to go in regulation. Gabi Wiegand (Bay Shore, N.Y.) tied the game on a free-position shot with seven seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
Johns Hopkins struck first in OT, but with five seconds to go in the first half of overtime, Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) sunk her team-leading fourth goal of the game to force sudden-death double overtime.
The Blue Jays won the opening draw of the second overtime period, but freshman defender Sally Jentis (Ridgewood, N.J.), who came in late in the game to replace an injured teammate, created a crucial turnover, gaining possession for the Gators, and 58 seconds into 2OT, Nora Barry (Marcellus, N.Y.) sunk a free-position goal to hand Florida its first-ever overtime victory by a score of 13-12.
Barry was named ALC Rookie of the Week, WomensLax.com National Rookie of the Week and to the SynapseSports.com National Honor Roll for her outstanding play against the Blue Jays. Barry recorded three goals, including the game-winner in 2OT, a ground ball, a draw control and a caused turnover in the game.
The Series: The Gators are 1-2 all-time against the Commodores. Vanderbilt won the first two contests, defeating Florida, 12-7, in the 2010 regular season, then winning 16-9 in the 2010 ALC Semifinals. The Gators picked up their first victory over VU on Apr. 17, 2011, edging the ‘Dores, 8-7, en route to a perfect, 5-0, conference season.
About the Commodores: Vanderbilt sits at just 7-5 on the season, but has had one of the toughest slates in the nation. The ‘Dores defeated then-No. 5 Duke, 7-5, in the season opener on Feb. 12, before falling 18-9 at No. 3 UNC. After entering the IWLCA top 10, Vanderbilt defeated No. 18 Boston College on Mar. 7, but a 12-11 overtime loss to No. 11 Penn State in the ALC opener kicked off a three-game slide with losses at No. 1 Northwestern and unranked New Hampshire. The Commodores bounced back to earn their first conference victory, 14-11, over Johns Hopkins, but dropped their most recent game, 13-11, at home against Ohio State.
Vanderbilt does not have any overwhelming statistics, ranking outside the top 25 in every team category and having just two players in the top 50 individually. Senior midfielder Ally Carey, a 2011 First Team All-ALC selection, leads the ‘Dores with 22 goals, nine assists and 60 draw controls, ranking ninth in the nation in DC. Vanderbilt has spread around its ground balls, ranking 26th as a team, but has no individual with 20 or more. Goalkeeper Natalie Wills has played in every game for Vandy, making 61 saves and allowing 102 goals to earn a 6-2 record and rank 39th in the nation with an 11.32 GAA.
Coverage: Saturday’s game will be broadcast statewide on Fox Sports Florida with Larry Vettel calling the play-by-play and M.C. McFadden on color commentary. The game will also be re-aired on Sun Sports on Tuesday, Apr. 17, at 2 p.m. and again on Sunday, Apr. 22, at 9:30 a.m. For fans outside the state of Florida, the television broadcast will be transmitted online through GatorVision. Regular subscription fees apply.
The game will also air on SportsRadio 850AM, with Cory Stephens, Mike Gillespie and Kailey Mizelle on the call. Out-of-area fans may listen to the radio broadcast for free on GatorZone. LiveStats for the event will be presented by GameTracker, and be sure to follow @GatorZoneLAX for in-game notes and scoring updates from the press box.