The opponent was familiar, however, the outcome was much, much different.
It was just a few weeks ago that Florida faced off against Northwestern. The first meeting resulted in a 22-4 victory for the lady Gators. That day was senior day for the 13 seniors who comprised the lacrosse team’s first recruiting class. These girls have literally built the program into what it is today. A blowout win like the one on that day was a more than fitting way to go out on senior night for the lady Gators.
If only they could have duplicated it on Sunday afternoon in Baltimore during the ALC Tournament championship game.
“I have to give credit to Northwestern for coming in with a great game plan, they were the better team today,” Head coach Amanda O’Leary said of the championship game. “We knew possession was going to be a big part of this game and they just dominated on the draws.”
Northwestern played a game of keep away, limiting what the Gators were able to do with the ball by winning draws and dominating possessions.
The Wildcats got the scoring started early, winning the opening draw and scoring less than two minutes into the game. The Gators Gabi Wiegand was able to respond on a free possession and Caroline Chesterman followed it up with a goal of her own to give Florida a 2-1 advantage.
It would be the last lead the Gators would enjoy, as Northwestern was able to go into halftime with a 3-2 lead and turned that into a 8-3 victory with a strong second half push.
It was announced later that night that the Gators had earned the No. 5 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Florida will play host to Jacksonville and Denver on May 10 and 12 respectively.
As one of the top six seeds, Florida earned a bye through the first round. This means they will be able to watch Jacksonville and Denver on the 10th to get a little last minute scouting in before playing the winner of that game on the 12th.
Florida has history with both teams in their short history. The Gators have played the Dolphins of Jacksonville in all four years of their existence and lead the series 4-1. Florida played host to Denver on February 20, 2011, coming away with a 15-7 victory.
The Gator are 9-0 on their home turf of Dizney Stadium and have won 18 home games in a row dating back to last season.