One point was all the Gators needed.
One point gave Florida its first and only lead of the game.
One point allowed the Gators to sweep not only the regular season American Lacrosse Conference but also the ALC tournament.
Just one point, and it felt like a mountain.
With just 32 seconds left on the clock, junior Nora Barry gave Florida (16-2) that game-winning point.
The junior may not have had the record-breaking season like fellow junior teammate Shannon Gilroy or as many goals as freshman Sammi Burgess, but she defined what clutch really meant game after game, and reminded Northwestern (12-5) of her worth in Florida’s 9-8 win in the two teams’ final ALC matchup on Sunday.
“It was a total team effort, to come back in the second half like that,” 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.”
Even with Florida’s win and Barry’s big score, the Gators still struggled to go undefeated in the ALC. Florida trailed Northwestern 7-2 at the end of the first half.
But the Gators rallied in the second half, outscoring the Wildcats 6-1 to tie the game at 8-8 with 9:50 remaining in the contest.
Mary-Sean Wilcox, who allowed seven goals on 13 Northwestern shots in the first half, settled down in the second half, allowing just one of the Wildcats’ shots to make it to the net.
After making some adjustments at halftime, O’Leary said she was happy with the offenses changes and how the sophomore goalkeeper helped the Gators stay in the game.
“Mary-Sean (Wilcox) did a great job in the goal cage and made some adjustments in the second half,” O’Leary said. “We made some adjustments, offensively and defensively, in the second half and I’m really proud of how the team executed those.”
Barry, Wilcox and freshman Taylor Bresnahan were named to the ALC All-Tournament Team and Gilroy was named the Tournament MVP after each played their roles in Florida’s win.
Barry scored the final goal. Wilcox made 13 saves in the last two games. Bresnahan played an instrumental role on draw controls, ground balls and caused turnovers.
Gilroy scored four of Florida's 11 goals in its 11-6 win against Johns Hopkins in the tournament semifinals and added a fifth during the second half against Northwestern.
UF learns NCAA Tournament seeding: Florida earned the No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday evening and will be one of eight teams to play host for the first and second rounds of the tournament, which begins on Friday.
Florida will host Atlantic Sun champion Jacksonville (14-5) and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champion Denver (18-1) at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. The Gators received a first-round bye and will play the winner of the matchup between the Dolphins and the Pioneers in the second round on May 11.
Florida holds a 5-0 record against Jacksonville, with the most recent win being a 21-5 rout in UF's home opener on Feb. 12.
The Gators topped the Pioneers 16-5 in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Follow Eden Otero on Twitter @edenotero_l
Nora Barry drives the ball toward the net during Florida’s 18-7 win against High Point on Feb. 15 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Barry scored the game-winning goal against Northwestern on Sunday to help the Gators clinch the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament title.