#3 Florida Edges #14 Ohio State in Defensive ALC Semifinal

Gainesville, Fla. – In an all-out defensive battle, the Florida Gators fought their way to the top, defeating No. 14 Ohio State, 5-4, in the American Lacrosse Conference semifinals.

Buckeye freshman Tori DeScenza made 15 saves in the game, but the Gators' back line limited OSU to just nine shots on goal, to pull out the one-goal victory. With the win, the third-ranked Gators improve to 16-2 (5-0 ALC) and will face No. 1 Northwestern (17-1, 4-1 ALC) in the ALC championship on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. NU's only loss this year came to UF in Evanston just two weeks ago. Ohio State falls in the ALC semifinals for the third time in four years, owning an 11-6 (1-4 ALC) record.

“What a great job Ohio State did,” said Head Coach Amanda O'Leary, “an incredibly well-coached program. We knew going into this game that they were going to have some tricks up their sleeve and they did. They kept us on our heels the entire game. Credit them with a really hard-fought game out there today. I'm just really pleased that we came out with a win tonight.”

After freshmen Nora Barry (Marcellus, N.Y.) and Shannon Gilroy (Northport, N.Y.) combined for six of the Gators' 10 goals at Ohio State back in March, Barry and fellow-rookie Nicole Graziano (Mendham, N.J.) each put up a pair of goals this evening, while junior middie Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) scored the remaining goal and notched two assists. Gabi Wiegand (Bay Shore, N.Y.) and Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) tallied an additional assist apiece.

Junior defender Emily Dohony tied the Gators' season high with six ground balls in the game, while Barry set a new single-season record in the game, notching five ground balls to break Dashiell's 2010 record of 38, now owning 41. Shannon Gilroy nabbed three of the Gators' seven draw controls, also setting a new season record with 63. Dohony and Dashiell anchored the UF back line that held the Buckeyes to just nine shots on goal, each causing three turnovers to contribute to the Gators' season-best 11 forced TOs.

“I think we counted on our defense to come up with a lot of big plays,” O'Leary said. “We limited their offensive firepower and that was a spark. Ultimately, I credit this group because in years past, we may not have come out victorious in a game like this. They're maturing, they have great leadership out there and they work really, really well together. They're unselfish and with all of that and their maturity, it certainly made a difference tonight.”

Ohio State's Alayna Markwordt broke through the Gators' defense three times, and fellow-senior Gabby Capuzzi netted the Buckeyes' final goal with just seven seconds left in regulation.

“Credit to Alayna,” Ohio State Head Coach Alexis Venechanos said. “She continues to have the best defender in the nation every game we play against. Credit to her she is able to continue to play her best and get her teammates involved. When she has the shots she will take the shots and she did a great job of reading that. Jamie Reeg did an excellent job on her, and Alayna still got her teammates involved and still was able to put some goals on the board for us.”

Tayler Kuzma led the Buckeyes with three ground balls and two caused turnovers, while Katie Chase snagged two of OSU's four draw controls.

Netminder Tori DeScenza had a fantastic performance in goal, making 15 saves in 57:52, and Cailtin Hester had a quiet 2:08 in relief. Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.) made five saves in the game to capture her eighth straight victory.

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2012-05-04



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