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Tuesday May 1, 2012Florida Lacrosse Meets with the Media About the ALC Tournament

Gainesville, Fla.

Head Coach Amanda O’Learyand juniors Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.), Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) and Sam Farrell (Millersville, Md.) met with the media this afternoon to discuss the upcoming American Lacrosse Conference Tournament, presented by STX, which will be hosted by the University of Florida at Donald R. Dizney Stadium, May 3-5.

 

The Gators earned the top seed in the tournament, and will face the winner of Thursday’s game between fourth-seeded Ohio State and fifth-seeded Vanderbilt in the second semifinal game on Friday night at 7 p.m. Second seed Northwestern will take on the winner of #3 Penn State and #6 Johns Hopkins at 4:30 p.m. on Friday. The winners of the two semifinal games will compete for the ALC title at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday. For complete coverage of the ALC Tournament, visit: http://www.gatorzone.com/lacrosse/tour/alc/2012/.

 

 

Head Coach Amanda O’Leary

 

On hosting the ALC Tournament:

“We’re really excited to host the tournament this week. I think it’s a great opportunity for our team, a great opportunity for our fans, and just the excitement of being at home, we tend to do pretty well here on our home field, so we’re hoping to continue that success.”

 

On earning a first-round bye:

“The bye is critical for us. This is a tough tournament to win as one of the bottom seeds, because you have to play three days in a row, so given the opportunity to only have to compete in a second game if we win the first game, it’s an incredible advantage. We’re going to use that day not only to practice and watch some more film, but also to be able to watch Vanderbilt and Ohio State.”

 

On preparing for the tournament:

“We have to play one game at a time. For us, I think the focus needs to be on preparing for both Ohio State and for Vanderbilt, and we need to prepare well for that. I think we also need to make sure that we are taking care of Florida Lacrosse, and not getting too caught up in what the opposing teams might do. I think we need to make sure that we are doing the things that we do well and continuing with those types of fundamentals and executing them.”

 

On Mikey Meagher:

“Mikey’s been fantastic in the goal cage. She had a tremendous game against Northwestern; I thought she played lights out. Mikey has been a stalwart in the goal. She needs to lead our defense, and she also has been able to come up with some critical saves at some big points. I’m really excited with how Mikey’s playing and we hope that that continues into the tournament.”

 

On Mikey Meagher’s effect on the defense:

“Our defense has been together for the last two and a half years, so they know each other and I think they have more confidence in each other knowing that Mikey’s in the goal cage. Given the opportunity that they can take a chance and go out on a double team, I think they can do that knowing that Mikey’s back there and she has the ability to make the saves.”

 

On the difference between this year’s team and last year’s

“I think they’re more mature. They have a bigger sense of the goals they want to accomplish. I think last year they were a little surprised at their success, whereas this year they expected to be successful. So, now it’s a matter of going out and executing and winning each of these games so that we can get a good seed in the NCAA Tournament. I do think this team is more mature, and we have a great influx of newcomers with Nora Barry and Shannon Gilroy and Nicole Graziano and Gabi Wiegand; they’ve been tremendous for us. It’s a new team with some new looks, but a more mature team.”

 

On Gabi Wiegand:

“She was one of the most highly-touted high school seniors coming out, and I would have loved to have had her since she was a freshman, but, just the opportunity to have coached her in the fall and this spring... (Her success) is no surprise to me, because her work ethic and her character, she’s just the whole package on and off the field. I don’t think it’s a surprise, but at the same time, I wouldn’t dare think where we’d be without her; we’re just really pleased she’s a Gator.”

 

On leadership:

“I think we have different types of leaders. We have verbal leaders, we have non-verbal leaders, people that step up in the locker room and get the team pumped up, and people who lead by example. So, I think we’ve been really lucky in the sense that we have a large variety of leaders. And I think that the key to our success has been the respect that our players have for one another. If one is having a bad day, they always have each other’s backs, they’re always very complimentary to one another, and I think that respect has carried us far.”

 

On the team’s focus:

“We still focus on the fundamentals; it’s going to be the fundamentals that will win these games. It comes down to who can throw and catch and have the least amount of turnovers. Offensively, it’s going to be about executing and being smart with possession, and defensively, it’s going to be about limiting our opponents’ opportunities. I don’t’ think things really change from one game to the next, but we definitely need to be consistent.”

 

On the defense:

“They played tremendous against Northwestern. It was a defensive battle from the first draw. With us, defensively, I think the key to success is going to be being able to step up and play as a team. We can’t have seven individuals out there and expect Mikey to come up with point blank saves. We have to go out on the double team, we have to play good one-on-one defense, and we have done that. I think there is a little bit of a confidence boost after the Northwestern game because we did have a lot of success, but I have seen us at times give up some shaky goals. So, we just need to make sure that we’re mentally and physically prepared for whomever we play.”

 

On the fans:

“You can’t say enough about our fan-base. I’ve coached at a lot of different places, and I have to say this place is so unique. The people come out and they support you; rain, sunshine, it doesn’t matter, they’re out here, and I don’t know if they actually know how big of a momentum boost it is for our team. The cheers that they do and the fact that there’s a lot of people in the stands; they might not know that but it is absolutely true. The fact that our fan-base is incredible, and I would attribute a lot of our home wins to the fact that they’re out here and they’re cheering us on. When we’re sort of in a rut, to hear the cheers still going on and people loudly screaming, I think it really helps our team’s momentum and it makes a difference. I’m excited to play in front of our home crowd.”

 

On the lacrosse facility:

“This is the number one lacrosse facility in the country. It by far exceeded any of my expectations when I got here. So, it’s fun to play here, and I think there’s a sense of pride. Our players are proud to call this home, and they’re proud to play in front of our home crowd. This is a tremendous facility, and one we’re really, really proud of.”

 

 

Kitty Cullen, Junior, Attack

 

On the Northwestern win:

“I think it was a huge win for us. Being able to beat the No. 1 team, especially on their home field, is just such an accomplishment. I think, hopefully, if we see them again this weekend that we’ll be able to do the same thing.”

 

On being the top seed:

“I think being the number one seed is huge for us. It gives us an advantage in not having to play Thursday, just having to play Friday and hopefully Saturday, and we’re hoping to definitely bring the title home this year.”

 

On the difference between this year’s team and last year’s:

“I think this year we’re a lot more mature. The majority of our team is juniors this year and we’ve come a long way in the past three years. We know what to expect going into the postseason. I think a huge difference this year is the new players as well, with Gabi Wiegand and the freshmen. They have really changed our team and made us a lot better for this year.”

 

Sam Farrell, Junior, Defense

 

On the two-week break:

“We had so many games, so having this two-week break is helping us, obviously physically, in resting our bodies, but also in helping us to prepare for things we need to work on and working in practice every day on what we need to improve on.”

 

On the freshmen:

“The freshmen came in and they are a huge asset to our success this year. They’ve all done so well, they work so hard and they just fit really well with our team. They’ve really helped us be successful this year.”

 

On the lacrosse facility:

“Our facilities are unreal, and when we go to other places and compare them to ours, we just know how lucky we are. Teams come here and are amazed by what we have. Having a facility like this that is just for lacrosse, it’s really nice to have.”

 

Brittany Dashiell, Junior, Midfield

 

On the freshmen:

“I think it’s hard to come in as a freshman, we all know that from our freshman year, and I think they really did a great job stepping in and working hard and really fitting in with our team and our team chemistry. I think their strengths really help us overall.”

 

On Gabi Wiegand

“Gabi’s unbelievable. I think she’s one of the best players on our team. She’s brought so much to our attack and we’re really lucky to have her.

 

“She’s so nice. She’s a really great person to be around. She’s always happy and smiling. I love her and I’m really happy that she’s on our team.”

 

On Mikey Meagher:

“She’s had an outstanding performance this year. She’s such an aggressive goalie, which is really great because she’ll come out and make interceptions, and she’s not afraid to go out and try to get the ball. I think that’s made a big difference, and she’s had some great games where she’s made some great saves, and I think that’s the reason we had some of our wins, thanks to her.”

 

 

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