Gilroy Leads No. 3 Gators Over No. 1 Wildcats to ALC Title

Freshman draw specialist Shannon Gilroy (Northport, N.Y.) scored seven goals and greatly contributed to the Gators' 18-5 slant on draw controls to help lead them past top-ranked Northwestern, 14-7, to claim their first-ever American Lacrosse Conference Tournament title.

Tournament MVP Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.) made nine stops in the cage, and once again held Northwestern to just seven goals, tying the season-low seven NU scored against Florida two weeks ago. Heading into the NCAA Tournament, both teams hold a 17-2 overall record.

"I'm just really, really proud of this program," said Head Coach Amanda O'Leary.

"First, I'd really like to thank all of the fans. Last night we had more than 1,000 fans here. It was such an amazing momentum builder for us to walk out onto that field and see all of our fans there for us. Again, today, we had amazing support from the community and it just made me really proud to be a Florida Gator. I'd like to thank the fans and community I'm really proud of our team today. They came out and persevered after a tough game last night and played a really solid 60 minutes, and that's what we asked them to do. I'm really happy."

The Wildcats have lost just nine games since the start of 2005, three of which were to the University of Florida. After capturing the 2012 ALC regular-season title in Evanston, Ill., with an 8-7 victory over the 'Cats on April 21, Florida did it again, downing NU by their largest margin of defeat since 2003. Additionally, with their two wins over Northwestern this year, Florida is the first team since the reforming of the Wildcats in the 2002 to defeat the 'Cats twice in the same season.

Freshman Shannon Gilroy had a standout performance in the midfield, scoring seven goals, nabbing three draw controls, and helping the Gators to dominate on the draw, running to an 18-5 team advantage.

"Shannon is excellent at what she does," said O'Leary. "She's a draw specialist. She came up against three players from Northwestern that are all excellent draw takers. If she wasn't winning it herself, I think we counted on Nora (Barry) and Brittany (Dashiell) and Kayla (Stolins) to come up with the balls, and I think they were able to do so."

Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.), who scored six goals against Northwestern on April 14, 2011, in the Gators' first marquee victory, notched three goals and an assist today, while classmate Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) put up two goals and an assist.

Gilroy, Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) and Kayla Stolins (Glen Arm, Md.) each had three draw controls, and Stolins, Sam Farrell (Millersville, Md.) and Jamie Reeg (Atlantis, Fla.) caused a pair of turnovers apiece. Additionally, Reeg marked 2011 Tewaaraton Award winner Shannon Smith, and ended her nation-leading 62-game scoring streak, holding her without a point for the first time since the 2010 season opener.

"Jamie is a tremendous defender," O'Leary said. "We typically put her up against the best crease attacker that we're going to come across and she's done a fantastic job for us each and every game. She's solid, she has great footwork and she's a tall person so she can cover a lot of ground. She's just really smart. We've got a keeper in Jamie."

Mikey Meagher made nine saves in the game, earning a combined .560 save percentage in the two games of the ALC Tournament.

"It's definitely a good feeling," Meagher said of being named MVP, "but this is shared with my team. The win wouldn't have happened without the defense and without Shannon. It's really a team effort not an individual one but I am very happy to receive the award.

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2012-05-05



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