No. 6 Gators lacrosse makes history with 13-11 win over No. 2 Wildcats to win first ALC title

In only the program’s second season, No. 6 Florida Gators lacrosse (13-1, 4-0 ALC) made history by defeating the No. 2 Northwestern Wildcats (12-1, 2-1 ALC) 13-11 at Donald R. Dizney Stadium in Gainesville, FL to capture at least a share of the 2011 ALC Regular Season Championship and the top seed in the 2011 ALC Tournament.

Florida accomplished this feat in front of the second-largest crowd in school history (1,518) just 419 days after beginning their inaugural season while continuing a 13-game winning streak and concluding the regular season an undefeated 11-0 at home.

Gators sophomore attacker and the nation’s leading scorer, Kitty Cullen registered six goals on the evening including a hat trick in each half. She was responsible for three of Florida’s four second-half goals on the way to a signature win for the program.

The Gators started out hot, scoring five-straight goals (including three from Cullen) to take an early 5-1 lead after Wildcats A Erin Fitzgerald notched the contest’s opening score. Florida kept the pressure on Northwestern through the first half, leading 9-4 at the break after sophomore Caroline Chesterman scored with 26 seconds left.

The five-goal deficit was the Wildcats’ largest of the season; Northwestern had only been down at the half on one other occasion all year.

The Wildcats were intense coming out of the locker rooms, with Fitzgerald once again scoring the half’s first goal. She was followed by a pair of scores, giving Northwestern three goals in under two minutes and leaving UF with a quickly reduced 9-7 lead.

Still up two goals, the Gators used a pair of free position shots from Cullen to jump ahead 12-8 with 14:44 left in the game. The Wildcats responded with three more goals to cut their deficit to 12-11 with 6:37 remaining on the clock.

Cullen would have none of it, hitting an unassisted goal with 5:35 to go to give Florida the 13-11 lead that would end the game. Supporting her team-high six goals were scores from Chesterman (three), sophomore Brittany Dashiell (three), sophomore A Ashley Bruns (two) and sophomore A Janine Hillier (two).

“I was just screaming, ‘Oh my God, we just won.’ It was so exciting,’’ Cullen said. “I’m so happy for me and my team. I wouldn’t want to share this with anyone else. This is what we’ve worked so hard for day in and day out.’’

The reigning ALC Defensive Player of the Week, goalkeeper Mikey Meagher was clutch the entire game, saving 10 shots including two in the final minutes with the Gators shorthanded due to a pair of yellow cards given out by the referees. She did not allow the opponent to score a single goal off a turnover and ensured her team was a perfect 22-for-22 on clearances away from the net.

The loss was Northwestern’s first in 2011 and first in the regular season since 2004. Florida never trailed after scoring their first goal and won the turnover battle 10-13.

Leading a team of 20 sophomores, six freshman and only one junior, UF head coach Amanda O’Leary was understandably emotional after the program-defining victory.

“We’re just so excited,” she said with a smile. “I have chills, goosebumps…I just couldn’t be more proud of what we accomplished tonight. We stayed focused when they went on runs. We didn’t let down. The team we are today is certainly not the team who played Northwestern last year.”

The Gators were shelled 19-5 in Evanston, IL one year ago, a win the Wildcats used to help propel them deep into the ALC Tournament. This year is Florida’s turn to capitalize. UF will face Vanderbilt (Apr. 17) and Cornell (May 1) before heading to Nashville, TN to begin the three-day event on May 5.

Photo Credit: Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: Jones, SEC records, softball, lacrosse

1 » Though he announced his commitment on Monday, four-star 2012 running back recruit Matt Jones (Seffner, FL) solidified it Wednesday night at a news conference at Armwood High School. Donning Florida Gators gear, Jones not only affirmed his commitment but also promised that nothing would change over the next year, before National Signing Day on Feb. 1 (or earlier if he decides to enroll in the spring). “I’m a Gator for life,” Jones said emphatically, according to the St. Petersburg Times. “Any other coaches are not going to get no feedback or stuff like that, only if they’re saying ‘Good luck’ to our players or stuff like that. I’m truly a Gator. […] I truly believe I’ll rock the Gator Nation.” Jones’s coach, Sean Callahan, praised his student-athlete’s early decision, noting that it is as firm as can be. “He understands what a commitment is now,” Callahan said. “We need to bring some honor in recruiting. Matt’s word is good, our word is good and I honestly believe the University of Florida‘s word is good, too.”

2 » Competing in the 2011 Southeastern Conference Swimming Championships at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL on Wednesday, the No. 5 men’s team broke two SEC records while capturing a pair of gold medals in relay races. The foursome of seniors Conor Dwyer, Brett Fraser, Balazs Gercsak and sophomore Sebastien Rousseau were victorious in the 800-yard freestyle relay with a record time of 6:13.74; within that race, Dwyer’s 200-yard freestyle split of 1:31.73 also set a conference mark, one once held by former Gators swimmer Ryan Lochte (2005). Florida’s other event victory was the 200-yard medley relay, which was won in a time of 1:24.94 by Dwyer, Fraser, redshirt sophomore Marco Loughran and freshman Marcin Cieslak. The men’s team is in third place overall after day one, while the No. 8 women’s team holds on to second place (Auburn leads both standings).

3 » No. 5 Florida softball (6-0) continued their hot start to the season with a 7-0 drubbing of the Jacksonville Dolphins (2-3) in their first road game of the year. Senior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher (4-0) tossed five innings of one-hit ball, striking out eight and walking one. Supporting her effort was senior second baseman Aja Paculba, whose grand slam in the fifth inning (the team’s third of the season) solidified the victory. The Gators will face their toughest test of the season over the weekend when they host No. 22 North Carolina for a three-game series including a doubleheader on Saturday.

4 » Also in Jacksonville on Wednesday was No. 17 Florida lacrosse (1-1), which won their first game of the season after suffering a tough overtime loss to No. 3 North Carolina over the weekend. The Gators took down the Dolphins in impressive fashion, 18-9, behind stellar offensive play by sophomore midfielder Kitty Cullen (four goals), junior attacker Caroline Cochran (three goals) and sophomore M Caroline Chesterman (three goals).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: volleyball, soccer, swimming, lax win

1 » No. 3 Florida Gators volleyball (12-1, 5-0 SEC) continued its dominant 2010 season over the weekend with back-to-back home wins against the No. 16 LSU Tigers (13-1, 4-1 SEC) on Friday and Arkansas Razorbacks (9-8, 3-3 SEC) on Sunday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Florida took down LSU 3-1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-22, 25-18) and swept Arkansas 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-17) with the help of juniors right-side setter Kelly Murphy and outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel. Murphy logged 10 aces and 21 kills combined in the two matches, while Jaeckel bested her with 22 kills (11 per contest). The Gators are now 8-1 against ranked opponents this season.

2 » No. 6 Florida soccer (10-1-1, 4-0 SEC) also kept its winning ways going on Sunday, defeating the Ole Miss Rebels (5-7-1, 1-3 SEC) 3-0 at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville to win their 10th match of the season. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Katie Fraine played the full 90 minutes and notched two saves as the Gators scored as the result of an own goal (21’), shot into the near post by senior defender Nicky Kit (74’) and one-touch strike from redshirt sophomore midfielder McKenzie Barney (90’).

3 » Florida’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won the All Florida Invitational over the weekend. In the first-ever instance of the event, the Gators won the men’s and women’s team categories by 259 and 184.5 points, respectively. Senior captain Connor Dwyer won eight men’s events both as an individual – 200-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard breaststroke and 100-yard freestyle, and member of a team – 200-yard freestyle relay, 400-yard freestyle relay, 800-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley relay.

4 » Also in action Saturday was Florida lacrosse (2-0), which began its second fall season in team history with two wins over the Jacksonville Dolphins (23-5) and Rollins Tars (25-8). 2009 star sophomore attacker Ashley Bruns along with junior A Caroline Cochran and sophomore midfielders Caroline Chesterman and Kitty Cullen each scored four goals during the contests with Bruns also posting four assists.

Extra BIT » Every Monday is “Music Monday” on Twitter, but this week that is true for OGGOA as well. Check out the song and music video: “Gator Like Me” by Big Uly.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

SIX BITS: Gators weekend wrap-up 4/9 – 4/11

Florida Gators athletics took home two titles and 10 overall victories this past weekend from Fri., April 9 to Sun., April 11. Get all the details…after the break!

1 » GYMNASTICS: No. 4 Florida Gators gymnastics captured the 2010 NCAA North Central Regional Championship.
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Gators weekend wrap-up 4/9 – 4/11

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: Baseball wins, lacrosse falls to No. 5

Bubble Watch » All four teams riding the 2010 NCAA Tournament bubble \in action Tuesday won their respective contests. South Florida (20-11) took down DePaul 58-49, Rhode Island (22-8) defeated Saint Joseph’s 87-76, Dayton (20-11) lit up George Washington 70-60 and Seton Hall (19-11) was victorious over Providence 109-106.

1 » In the first of what will be a 10-game homestand, No. 6/7 Florida Gators baseball (8-2) took down the Illinois State Redbirds (4-6) 8-2 Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Freshman starter Hudson Randall (2-0) tossed five innings of one-run ball along with five strikeouts as the Gators carried a 8-1 lead into the top of the eighth inning. Freshman first baseman Austin Maddox went 1-4 with a home run in the sixth, three RBI and two runs; sophomore outfielder Tyler Thompson supported him with a 2-4 performance with two RBI; and freshman OF Kamm Washington was 3-4 with an RBI and three stolen bases.

2 » A team filled with mostly freshman, Florida lacrosse has already had a remarkable inaugural season. Looking to put a feather in its cap Tuesday, the Gators (3-2) took the No. 5 Georgetown Hoyas (2-1) to the wire, falling 13-11 in just under two hours. Freshman goalkeeper Cara Carrington (3-2) got the loss as fellow freshman Caroline Chesterman contributed three goals and five shots in 65 minutes of field time. Each team accounted for 33 shots and 11 ground balls, but Georgetown cleared more shots than Florida – 17/17 to 12/16. The Hoyas outscored the Gators 10-5 in the first period, but UF came roaring back with a 6-3 total in the second period.

Two more BITS on awards given to the Florida Gators…after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Baseball wins, lacrosse falls to No. 5

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 Page 2 of 2 « 1  2