Tuesday May 1, 2012Florida Gators to Host American Lacrosse Conference Tournament May 3-5
The University of Florida lacrosse team will host the sixth-annual American Lacrosse Conference Tournament, presented by STX, this week at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. The tournament will consist of five games over three days, May 3-5. The regular-season champion Gators have earned the top seed for the tournament, giving them one of two first-round byes, and will play their first game on Friday at 7 p.m., hosting the winner of the Thursday night’s quarterfinal game between fourth-seeded Ohio State and fifth-seeded Vanderbilt. Northwestern garnered the second seed, and will face the winner of the early quarterfinal between third-seeded Penn State and sixth-seeded Johns Hopkins.
1. Florida Gators (15-2, 5-0 ALC) – The Florida lacrosse team, in just its third season as an NCAA Division I program, has proved its position as one of the premier lacrosse programs in the country. Following a breakout 2011 campaign, which saw the Gators winning their first ALC regular-season title, advance to the ALC Championship game, and host the NCAA Elite 8, the Gators have yet to disappoint in 2012. Florida captured its second-straight ALC title on April 21, upsetting No. 1 Northwestern in Evanston, to win its 10th-straight conference game and hand the Wildcats their only loss of the regular season. Florida has just two losses in the regular season, falling only to North Carolina, 9-11, on the road in the season opener, and 11-12 in double overtime to Syracuse, both of whom finish the season ranked in the top five of the IWLCA coaches poll. Conversely, Florida defeated seven ranked opponents and scored at least 20 goals in seven different games in 2012.
As a team, the Gators lead the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 6.65 goals a game, and scoring margin, winning by an average of 10.06 goals per game. UF is second only to in-state foe Jacksonville in scoring offense, averaging 16.71 goals a game, and is third in the nation in both draw controls (15.88) and total points scored (408). Individually, Florida’s offense is led by Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.), Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.), Gabi Wiegand (Bay Shore, N.Y.) and Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.), all four of whom are having 30-goal, 50-point seasons. Bruns leads the pack with 61 points, tying Cullen and Dashiell for tops on the team with 20 assists, and is second with 41 goals. Wiegand leads the Gators with 45 goals, adding 13 assists for 58 points on the year, while Dashiell and Cullen have 34 and 39 goals, respectively, to go along with their 20 assists. A pair of freshmen lead the Gators in the midfield, as Shannon Gilroy (Northport, N.Y.) is one draw control shy of the school season record with 60, ranking 25th in the nation, and Nora Barry (Marcellus, N.Y.) is tops on the Gators with 36 ground balls and second with 39 draw controls. Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.) is having another stellar year in the cage, ranking second in the nation in save percentage (.525) and third in goals-against average (7.41).
2. Northwestern Wildcats (16-1, 4-1 ALC) – The powerhouse Northwestern squad is having yet another phenomenal year, following its 2011 National Championship with a 16-1 regular-season campaign. The ‘Cats have spent the entire 2012 season ranked at No. 1 in both national polls, capturing 12 victories over ranked opponents including seven in the top 10. The team sits second only to Florida in scoring defense (7.18 GA/g), and ranks fifth in the nation in scoring margin (+7.29/g). 2011 Tewaaraton Award winner Shannon Smith leads the ‘Cats’ offense, ranking 10th in the NCAA in goals (56) and 15th in points (76). Teammate Erin Fitzgerald, who is having a breakout junior season, ranks 36th in the country in goals (44) and has a total of 53 points. Highly acclaimed junior Taylor Thornton has dominated on both ends of the field for Northwestern, totaling 23 goals, 56 draw controls, 42 ground balls and 22 caused turnovers. Senior defender Alex Frank ranks 18th in the nation with her 29 caused turnovers, adding 32 ground balls and 21 draw controls, and draw specialist Alyssa Leonard is 23rd in the NCAA with her 63 draw controls. In the goal cage, senior keeper Brianne LoManto is holding down the back line holding the best goals-against average in the nation, at 6.84, and ranks 13th in save percentage (.473).
3. Penn State Nittany Lions (11-5, 3-2 ALC) – Penn State locked up the third seed for the 2012 ALC Tournament after a solid season in State College, Pa. The Nittany Lions pulled out three victories over teams in the top 10, including a 14-7 win over then-No. 6 Virginia on Mar. 4. A youth-laiden team, the Nittany Lions’ offense is championed by sophomore Mackenzie Cyr and three-time ALC Rookie of the Week Maggie McCormick, who have a total of 51 points each. Cyr tabbed 32 goals and 19 assists, while McCormick has 25 goals and a team-best 26 assists. Additionally, freshman Tatum Coffey and junior Molly Fernandez have 31 and 29 goals, respectively, on the year. Coffey also leads PSU’s midfield, tabbing 49 draw controls and 17 caused turnovers. Reigning ALC Goalie of the Year Dana Cahill minds the net again for the Nittany Lions, and ranks fourth in the nation in save percentage (.505) and seventh in both total saves (157) and saves per game (9.81), adding a team-high 33 ground balls. Cahill and the Gators’ Meagher are two of just five goalkeepers in the nation to have a save percentage above .500.
4. Ohio State Buckeyes (10-5, 1-4 ALC) – Ohio State will be looking for its first-ever trip to the ALC Championship game this week, after falling to Florida, 16-13, in the 2011 ALC Semifinals. Sitting at 10-5 overall and garnering the top seed out of the three-way tie for fourth place in the conference, the Buckeyes have just one win over a ranked opponent this season, a 13-11 victory at No. 15 Vanderbilt. However, the Buckeyes never lost to an unranked opponent, and took No. 1 Northwestern to overtime in front of a crowd of 2,319 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The Buckeyes’ offense is led by senior attacker Alayna Markwordt, who ranks fourth in the nation in both points (5.47) and assists (3.07) per game, totaling 36 goals, 46 assists and 82 points. Gabby Capuzzi Is having a stellar year across the board, earning a team-best 38 goals, 51 draw controls, 35 ground balls and 29 caused turnovers, ranking 12th in the country with an average of 1.93 CT per game. Netminder Tori DeScenza has played the majority of the minutes in goal for Ohio State, going 8-5 with 101 saves, a 9.63 GAA and a .468 save percentage.
5. Vanderbilt Commodores (8-7, 1-4 ALC) – Vanderbilt opened the season with a 7-5 upset of No. 5 Duke, beginning the year 5-1 with wins over three ranked opponents. However an overtime loss to Penn State on Mar. 18 in the ‘Dores’ conference opener started a three-game slide, which led Vanderbilt to close the season on a 3-6 run, highlighted only by a 14-11 victory over Johns Hopkins. Vandy is led by senior midfielder Ally Carey, who ranks eighth in the nation with a daunting 75 draw controls, and has 29 goals, 10 assists, 23 ground balls and 20 caused turnovers on the year. Sophomore defender Alyssa Dunlap a team-leading 29 ground balls, and has 13 caused turnovers and 11 draw controls on the year. Natalie Wills guards the net for the ‘Dores, earning a 7-4 record with 88 saves, an 11.65 goals-against average and a .386 save percentage, adding 17 ground balls and nine caused turnovers.
6. Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (8-8, 1-4 ALC) – The Blue Jays kept their fans on the edge of their seats all season, playing six one-goal games and having the final 13 games of the year decided by four goals or less. Hopkins opened the season with three dominant victories, before dropping close games to No.12 Loyola and Stony Brook. The Blue Jays then went on a 4-game winning streak, earning three one-goal victories, before a 14-11 loss at Vanderbilt began a six-game slide for JHU. However, the Blue Jays rebounded in the final matchup of the season, defeating Ohio State, 12-9, on Saturday to finish in a three-way tie for fourth in the ALC. Sophomore middie Taylor D’Amore is having a solid season for Hopkins, ranking 20th in the nation with 33 assists, 33rd with an average of 3.94 points, and 18th in the NCAA with 4.19 draw controls per game. Candace Rossi also tabbed 50+ points, scoring 32 goals and 20 assists, while Colleen McCaffrey is tops on the team with 39 goals, adding an additional 37 draw controls. On the defensive end, Alyssa Kildare leads JHU with 18 caused turnovers and 26 ground balls. KC Emerson and Cosette Larash have split time in the goal for the Blue Jays; Emerson went 4-3 and 57 saves, a 9.47 GAA and a .452 save percentage, while Larash has gone 4-5 with 58 saves, a 10.10 GAA and a .395 save percentage.
ALC Tournament Schedule
Thursday, May 3 – Quarterfinals
#6 Johns Hopkins vs. #3 Penn State – 4:30 p.m.
#5 Vanderbilt vs. #4 Ohio State – 7 p.m.
Friday, May 4 – Semifinals
PSU/JHU winner vs. #2 Northwestern – 4:30 p.m.
OSU/VU winner at #1 Florida – 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 5 – Finals
ALC Championship Game – 12:30 p.m.
Fans may purchase either an all-session pass, good for all five games of the tournament, or a single-day ticket, which will allow admittance to both games on that given day. All-session passes are available for advance purchase online through the Gator Ticket Office. All-session and single-day passes will be available at the gate on game days. The prices are as follows:
$8.00 All-Session Pass
$5.00 Per Day
Senior Citizens and Children 12 & Under
$5.00 All-Session Pass
$3.00 Per Day
Free with Gator 1 ID
If you are unable to attend the games in person, all five tournament games will be streamed live free of charge on GatorVision. Additionally, LiveStats for all five games will be available, courtesy of GameTracker. For individual links, updated results, headlines and more, visit the ALC Tournament Central website on GatorZone. Also, be sure follow @GatorZoneLAX on Twitter for updates on the Gators’ performance throughout the week, and search #ALCTourney for the latest news on the conference championship.