their first American Lacrosse Conference title game, the Gators
needed just 13 minutes and 17 seconds to squander a history-making
three goals late in the second half, No. 4 Florida (15-3, 5-0 ALC)
had third-ranked Northwestern (17-2, 3-2 ALC) on the ropes before
it reverted to an old habit — losing draw controls.
Gators conceded possession to the Wildcats on five consecutive
faceoffs, sparking a 5-0 scoring run that erased a championship
opportunity for Florida and gave Northwestern a 10-9 win.
“The draw controls were a huge part of the game,” UF coach Amanda
O’Leary said. “As we always talk about, in order to score you need
to have the ball. We weren’t able to answer those draw controls,
and they dominated the middle.”
five-time national champion Wildcats have yet to lose a game in the
ALC Tournament and took home their seventh consecutive conference
championship on Sunday.
After finishing the first half tied at five draws each, the
Wildcats finished the latter period with an 8-3 advantage. Most of
the damage was done by the ALC Freshman of the Year, Alyssa
Leonard, who had nine draw controls.
“Unfortunately, we weren’t really coming up with them,” midfielder
Ashley Bruns said. “Had we gotten some draw controls, I think it
might have been a little different, but then again, Northwestern
was very physical.”
was the third time in four games the top-seeded Gators failed to
win the faceoff battle and the second time they subsequently lost
O’Leary said the game looked more like a missed opportunity than a
wholesale collapse. Florida finished with more shots, ground balls
and fewer turnovers than the Wildcats and had a chance to tie the
game with 1:25 left after Bruns netted one of her two goals off of
“There were bright spots to the day, it was just when you see an
8-5 lead diminish in a short amount of time it’s kind of like,
‘OK,’” O’Leary said. “We have to look at where we fell short.”
Offensively, the Gators were paced by sophomore Caroline
Chesterman’s hat trick. But Florida was held to single digits a day
after exploding for 16 goals against Ohio State.
While Tewaaraton Award nominee Kitty Cullen was Florida’s hero with
six goals in an April 14 win over Northwestern, the Wildcats
limited her to zero goals and one assist on seven shots, while
their own candidate, Shannon Smith, racked up a game-high five
Now, the Gators must wait until Sunday night at 8 to know whether
they have been chosen into the field of 16 as an at-large bid for
the NCAA Tournament. The top-eight seeds host the first round.
can look at this game and learn from it, but we’ve got to look
ahead because the first round is next week,” Chesterman said. “We
find out tomorrow who we play and then we have to gear up because
from now on, you lose and you’re out.”