UF lacrosse rallies past Northwestern for ALC tourney title

Florida's Nora Barry's only goal on Sunday was a big one. The junior found the net to give the Gators a 9-8 lead with 32 seconds left in the game. That lead stood as the Gators captured the ALC tournament title with a win over Northwestern.

Brad McClenny/Staff photographer/FILE
Published: Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 4:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 4:48 p.m.

EVANSTON, Ill. — No. 3 Florida outscored Northwestern 7-1 in the second half to overcome a 7-2 halftime deficit Sunday and defeat No. 5 Northwestern, 9-8, in the last American Lacrosse Conference tournament.

“It was a total team effort, to come back in the second half like that,” UF coach Amanda O'Leary said. “From the enthusiasm on the sidelines to the play on the field, I couldn't have asked for anything more.

“Mary-Sean (Wilcox) did a great job in the goal cage and made some adjustments in the second half. We made some adjustments, offensively and defensively, in the second half and I'm really proud of how the team executed those.”

The Gators (17-2) placed four players on the ALC All-tournament team, including MVP Shannon Gilroy. Florida has earned an automatic bid for the NCAA tournament.

The teams traded goals for the first 16 minutes, resulting in a 2-all tie before Northwestern (12-6) closed out the first half with five straight goals to go up 7-2 entering the break. The Gators came out strong in the second half and turned the tables on the Wildcats to take over the momentum of the game.

Florida began to chip away at the Northwestern lead, much as the Wildcats did two weeks ago. The Gators tied the game for the third time, 8-8, with 9:50 on the clock when Mollie Stevens fired one in the net from the 8-meter line. A couple of miscues from each team kept the score from moving and gave the Gators the ball with 2:30 remaining.

Florida ran a stall for about two minutes, before putting the ball in the stick of junior Nora Barry, who dodged more than one Wildcat before finding the back of the net for the first and only time of the day, putting the Gators up 9-8 with 32 seconds left in the game. Florida came up with the final draw and kept the ball away from Northwestern until the buzzer sounded.

After the win, the Gators earned the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, which begins on Friday.

Florida will host the winner of Friday’s Jacksonville-Denver match on Sunday.

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