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Friday May 11, 2012Florida Lacrosse to Host Albany Saturday in NCAA Tournament First Round

Gainesville, Fla.

The ALC Champion Florida lacrosse team (17-2, 5-0 ALC) earned the No. 1 seed in the 2012 NCAA Tournament and will host the Albany Great Danes (12-5, 3-3) on Saturday afternoon in the NCAA First Round. The Gators will host the NCAA First Round at Donald R. Dizney Stadium for the second-straight year, with opening draw set for 1 p.m.

UF IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: Florida captured the #4 seed in the 2011 NCAA Tournament, earning the opportunity to host the first and second rounds. The Gators defeated Stanford, 13-11, on May 14, in the first NCAA Lacrosse Tournament game ever played in the state of Florida. UF then ended its record-breaking second season on May 21, falling 13-9 to fifth-seeded Duke in front of the fourth-biggest crowd at Dizney Stadium, with 1,161 in attendance.

LAST TIME OUT: No. 3 Florida earned its first-ever ALC Tournament title last weekend, edging Ohio State, 5-4, in the lowest-scoring game in Gator history, and then dominating five-time defending tournament champion Northwestern, 14-7.

The freshmen championed the Gators’ offense in the tournament, scoring four of the five goals in the semifinals and eight of the 14 in the finals. Nora Barry (Marcellus, N.Y.) scored the first two goals against Ohio State, and after the Buckeyes tied the score at three, Nicole Graziano (Mendham, N.Y.) put up back-to-back goals to give Florida a pass to the finals. Emily Dohony (Parkton, Md.) marshaled the defense, earning six ground balls and three caused turnovers, both career highs, while Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) had a goal, two assists, two ground balls and three caused turnovers.

Shannon Gilroy (Northport, N.Y) was the talk of the town on Saturday, scoring seven goals against No. 1 Northwestern to match the Wildcats’ goal total on the day. Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.) made nine saves on the day and earned a combined .560 save percentage over both games to earn ALC All-Tournament MVP. Gilroy, and Dashiell joined Sam Farrell (Millersville, Md.) and Jamie Reeg (Atlantis, Fla.) on the All-Tournament team. The pair of defenders kept Northwestern’s top two scorers, Erin Fitzgerald and Shannon Smith, without a point in the game, ending Smith’s nation-leading 62-game scoring streak.

ABOUT THE GREAT DANES: Albany followed its head-turning 2011 season, in which the Great Danes finished the regular season sitting at 17-0, with a 12-5 campaign and a crucial late run in the America East Tournament. Albany defeated No. 14 Boston College, 16-12, on March 12 to capture a key nonconference upset, but then went just 3-3 in conference play, claiming the final, #4 seed, for the America East Tournament. However, the Great Danes then launched themselves into the national postseason, with back-to-back upsets of top-seed Boston University and #2 Stony Brook, to qualify for their second-straight NCAA Tournament.

Albany’s offense is led by sophomore Ariana Parker and junior Jess Antelmi, as Parker has 38 goals, 15 assists and 53 points to Antelmi’s 27 goals, 25 assists and 52 points. Mel Rorie and Anna Berman are tied for the team lead with 29 ground balls apiece, and Rorie also has a team-high 20 caused turnovers. Rachel Burek champions the midfield with 64 draw controls, ranking 25th in the nation. In the cage, Berman has started all-but-one game, making 87 saves, tabbing a 9.72 GAA and a .358 save percentage.

THE SERIES: Florida and Albany will face each other on Saturday for the first time in history. Florida is 4-0 all-time against members of the America East conference, including wins over UMBC and Stony Brook earlier this season. The Great Danes are 2-2 against current members of the ALC, defeating Penn State in the 2011 regular season, splitting a pair of contests with Vanderbilt, and falling, 18-4, to Northwestern in the 2011 NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals.

GAME COVERAGE: Live video of the game will be streamed free of charge on GatorVision. The radio broadcast can be heard locally on WRUF SportsRadio 850AM and online at GatorZone.com. LiveStats will be presented by GameTracker, and be sure to follow @GatorZoneLAX on Twitter for in-game updates from the press box. To join the conversation, use #NCAAWLax.

TICKETS: Tickets for the event are $5 for adults and $3 for senior citizens and children 12 and under. UF students will be admitted for free with Gator 1 ID. Click here to purchase your tickets now.

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