Saturday May 3, 2014Rematch Between Florida and Northwestern Set for ALC Championship
The stage is set for a very familiar scene in Evanston, Ill., when Florida and Northwestern meet for the ALC Championship game on Sunday at 12 p.m. ET. The teams met just two weeks ago at Lakeside Field as Florida sought to finish the regular season undefeated in the ALC and clinch the regular season title. Then, the Gators were ranked No. 4 and the Wildcats were No. 5.
This time, Florida sits at No. 3 and Northwestern has maintained its No. 5 spot. Now, both teams will be vying for a championship - the last ALC Tournament Championship. The rivalry between the Gators and the Wildcats has become perhaps the biggest rivalry in the ALC, as the two have met in the ALC Championship game every year since 2011. Florida is the only team other than Northwestern to win the ALC Tournament, doing so by defeating the Wildcats 14-7 in 2012.
Florida owns a 5-3 advantage over Northwestern in the series, which includes a 2-1 record in Evanston. Two weeks ago, the Gators were able to outlast the Wildcats, 13-12. Florida had worked its way to an 11-5 advantage with less than 20 minutes to play, but Northwestern began to methodically chip away at the Gator lead, culminating with the game-tying goal from Kara Mupo with 14 seconds left in the game. To Florida’s advantage, the goal was called off due to a crease violation and the Gators held on to the ball and the win as the clock dwindled down.
Last season, the Gators won the regular season contest, 22-4, in the Wildcat’s most lopsided loss since 2002. Northwestern answered with a win over Florida in the ALC Tournament title game, claiming its sixth tournament title in seven years.
Gators Ranked High in NCAA Statistics
As the post-season begins, Shannon Gilroy and Florida continue to rank well in several NCAA statistical categories. In games through April 27, Gilroy leads the nation in goals (75), goals per game (4.41) and points per game (5.35), while ranking second in points (91). Goalie Cara Canington ranks 12th in save percentage (.478) and 20th in goals against average (8.31)
As a team, Florida ranks first in scoring offense (15.59), second in draw controls (16.29 per game), fourth in scoring margin (7.24), 7th in points (344), 14th in ground balls per game (18.59) and 20th in scoring defense (8.35). Additionally, the Gators lead the American Lacrosse Conference in points, draw controls, scoring margin, scoring offense, and ground balls per game.
Florida Earns Three ALC Yearly Awards; Puts four on All-Conference Teams
Shannon Gilroy is the American Lacrosse Conference Midfielder of the Year and Sammi Burgess picked up Rookie of the Year honors, as announced by the league on Tuesday. Additionally, head coach Amanda O’Leary was named the ALC Coach of the Year for the third time in four years.
Florida also placed four players on the All-Conference teams, as Nora Barry and Gilroy earned first-team nods and Caroline Fitzgerald and Burgess were named to the second team.
Gilroy has had a tremendous junior season and leads the NCAA in goals (75), goals per game (4.41) and points per game (5.35), while ranking second in points (91). She also leads the Gators in draw controls (72), caused turnovers (23) and assists (16). She has also picked up 19 ground balls this season and is 29-for-35 from the 8-meter. Gilroy has set or tied 9 program records this season.
Burgess has had an impressive freshman campaign, ranking second on the team with 45 points, 31 goals and 14 assists. She has also tallied 21 ground balls and 15 draw controls. Burgess capped the regular season by scoring a career-high four goals in each of the last two games. She also led the conference with four rookie of the week honors.
O’Leary, the 2011 and 2013 ALC Coach of the Year, led the Gators to their fourth consecutive ALC title and a top-seed in the ALC tournament. O’Leary has recorded a 78-20 record at Florida, including going 27-8 in the ALC.
Shannon Gilroy Named Tewaaraton Nominee
Shannon Gilroy has been named a 2014 Tewaaraton Award nominee, as announced by the Tewaaraton Foundation. The Tewaaraton Award honors the nation’s top male and female college lacrosse player.
Gilroy leads the nation with 75 goals and ranks second with 91 points, in addition to leading Florida with 72 draw controls and 23 caused turnovers. She has been named the ALC Offensive Player of the Week three times and is the only player in the league to be awarded the honor more than once this season. Highlighting the season, Gilroy set or tied three program single-game records in the win over High Point with 10 draw controls and eight goals off of 13 shots. She has set a total of nine program records this season. Gilroy was also a Tewaaraton nominee in 2013, after finishing the season leading Florida with 52 goals and 59 draw controls and ranking second with 65 points.
Live audio will be available for streaming via GatorZone, while video will be available through Northwestern and can be found here: http://www.nusports.com/allaccess/?media=445327.
Complete game notes can be found here: http://www.gatorzone.com/lacrosse/stats/notes/pre/20140504120000.pdf.
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