No. 3 Florida Dispatches No. 8 JHU to Reach ALC Title Game

Evanston, Ill. Mary-Sean Wilcox recorded a career-high 10 saves and Shannon Gilroy scored four goals to lead the No. 3 Florida Gators past the No. 8 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays, 11-6, in the semifinals of the ALC Tournament on Friday at Lakeside Field.

Johns Hopkins scored first and kept the game close for most of the first half, as neither team led by more than one until Florida went up 5-3 with 3:53 until the break. The Gators scored their third straight goal to close out the first stanza and take a 6-3 lead before halftime.

Florida started the second half in the same fashion that it closed out the first, stretching its lead to 9-3 in less than 10 minutes. After the teams traded a couple of goals, Johns Hopkins attempted to start a rally, scoring two goals in 1:03 and moving the score to 11-6 with 6:23 on the clock.

However, the Gator defense closed ranks and didn't allow the Blue Jays to come any closer, while the Florida offense ran a stall to keep Johns Hopkins from spending too much time in the offensive third of the field.

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EVANSTON, IL - Top-seeded and third-ranked Florida used a six-goal run that bridged halftime to take control of the game en route to an 11-6 win over eighth-ranked Johns Hopkins Friday in the semifinals of the ALC Tournament. The Blue Jays fall to 15-4 on the season and await a possible NCAA Tournament bid. The Gators improve to 16-2 and advance to Sunday's championship game.

With the game tied at three apiece with 6:09 to play in the half, Shannon Gilroy scored back-to-back goals less than two minutes apart to ignite the Gators' six-goal run. Florida then capitalized in transition, scoring with 2:40 to go to take a 6-3 lead.

Just a few seconds before, on the other end of the field, sophomore Jenna Reifler appeared to cut the lead to one and make it a 5-4 game. She took a pass from senior Taylor D'Amore and went low on Mary-Sean Wilcox. But the ball did not full cross the goal line and Wilcox sparked the transition with a quick outlet pass. Mollie Stevens took a Sam Darcangelo pass and beat freshman Caroline Federico to make it a three-goal game. D'Amore had a chance to pull the Blue Jays within two in the waning seconds of the half as she rolled the crease and got a great look at the Gator's cage, but Wilcox made the save.

Coming out of the half, Florida built its lead to six with a pair of goals from Sammi Burgess and one from Nora Barry in the first 10 minutes. The Gators capitalized on a pair of free position shots to open the second-half scoring, before Burgess scored from close range to cap the run. Junior Jen Cook halted the run at the 17:55-mark to cut the deficit to five. D'Amore threaded the needle with a slick pass to Cook in the high slot and Cook quicksticked a shot past Wilcox.

The Gators answered with back-to-back goals from Darcangelo and Lauren Lea to push out to a 10-4 lead with 11:11 to play. The Blue Jays weren't going away and got goals from sophomore Dene' DiMartino and Cook just 63 seconds apart to cut the deficit to five with 6:23 still to play.

DiMartino cashed in on a free position shot at the 7:26-mark, her school-record 15th free position goal of the season. DiMartino in the won the draw and D'Amore dumped a pass low to Cook, who fired a shot past Wilcox to make it an 11-6 game. Hopkins was unable to get any closer and Florida held on for the win.

D'Amore led Hopkins with five points (2g, 3a) and now has 99 points this season. She is one point shy of just the third 100-point season all-time in school history. Cook added two goals and DiMartino had one goal and an assist, while controlling a career-high eight draws.

Her eight draws were a game-high and just one shy of the school record. Federico made five saves and caused a turnover in the loss. Gilroy notched a team-high five points (4g, 1a) for Florida while Barry and Burgess had two goals each. Barry also controlled four draws and Wilcox made 10 saves in the win.

Hopkins must now wait until Sunday night and the announcement of the 2014 NCAA Bracket. The tournament field is set to be announced on Sunday, May 4 at 9:0:00 pm EST.


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