Gators close in on second ALC tourney title

Florida's Shannon Gilroy (center) scored a team-high four goals to lead the Gators past Johns Hopkins, 11-6, in the ALC semifinals in Evanston, Ill.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, May 2, 2014 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, May 2, 2014 at 10:07 p.m.

EVANSTON, Ill. — The No. 3 Florida women's lacrosse team is on the verge of its second American Lacrosse Conference tournament title.

Mary-Sean Wilcox recorded a career-high 10 saves and Shannon Gilroy scored four goals to lead No. 3 Florida past No. 8 Johns Hopkins, 11-6, in the tournament semifinals on Friday at Lakeside Field.

The Gators (16-2) have won four straight ALC regular-season titles, but have only won one previous ALC tournament title in 2012 despite playing in three straight championship games. They'll get another chance Sunday at noon against conference powerhouse Northwestern (12-5), a 9-8 winner over Ohio State (13-6) in Friday's other semifinal.

Johns Hopkins (15-4) scored first and kept the game close for most of the first half, as neither team led by more than one until Florida went up 5-3 with 3:53 until the break. The Gators scored a third straight goal to go into halftime with a 6-3 lead.

Florida started the second half with the same momentum, stretching its lead to 9-3 in less than 10 minutes. After the teams traded a couple of goals, Johns Hopkins attempted to start a rally, scoring two goals in 1:03 and moving the score to 11-6 with 6:23 on the clock. However, the Gator defense closed ranks and didn't allow the Blue Jays to come any closer, while the Florida offense ran a stall to keep Johns Hopkins from spending too much time in the offensive third of the field.

“I just thought we played well on both ends of the field,” Florida coach Amanda O'Leary said. “Mary-Sean came up with some big saves that really affected the momentum of the game, which was to our advantage. I thought we did well on the offensive end. I think there are some little things that we need to correct at both ends of the field, but overall, I thought we played a solid game.”

Sammi Burgess and Nora Barry scored two goals each for Florida, and Sam Darcangelo and Mollie Stevens also added goals.

The Gators improved to 5-3 all-time against the Blue Jays, including a 2-1 record in Evanston.

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