April 12, 2011
No. 2 Northwestern (12-0, 2-0 ALC) at No. 6 Florida (12-1, 3-0 ALC)
Thursday, April 14
Gainesville, Fla. 5:30 p.m. CT
Streaming Video: GatorVision.tv (subscription required)
In-game Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
No. 2 Northwestern (12-0, 2-0 ALC) at RV Johns Hopkins (7-5, 0-2 ALC)
Saturday, April 16
Baltimore, Md. Noon CT
Streaming Video: HopkinsSports.com
In-game Twitter updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Northwestern's aspirations of locking up the No. 1 seed in the American Lacrosse Conference Championship may well be decided this week when NU travels to take on two ALC foes, No. 6 Florida and Johns Hopkins. Thursday's meeting between the 'Cats and Gators -- both unbeaten in conference play -- is a collision of two teams ranked in the top five in the nation in scoring offense.
Wildcats on the Web
Northwestern fans wishing to watch the 'Cats take on Florida may do so by purchasing a subscription to GatorVision on Gatorzone.com. On Saturday, a free live stream of NU's game at Johns Hopkins will be available on HopkinsSports.com. Fans may also click on Gametracker or receive updates on Twitter (@NU_SportsLIVE) for both outings.
Scouting the Gators
2011: 12-1 overall, 10-0 home, No. 6 IWLCA
Last Three Games: W vs. Johns Hopkins (14-10), W at Penn State (13-7), W vs. Ohio State (10-8)
Head Coach: Amanda O'Leary (Temple '88), second season at Florida (22-9, .710)
Key Players: Kitty Cullen (So., A): 61 goals, five assists; Ashley Bruns (So., A): 33 goals, 21 assists, 12 caused turnovers; Brittany Dashiell (So., M): 26 goals, seven assists, 33 draw controls; Mikey Meagher (So., GK): 79 saves, 7.55 goals against average, .465 save percentage
Northwestern and Florida met for the first time in 2010, the Gators' first season of varsity competition. The two squads were on different levels at that time with the Wildcats swamping Florida in the season finale, 19-5, behind four goals by Shannon Smith
. Florida's surge to a top-10 ranking in 2010 has come under head coach Amanda O'Leary, who previously spent 14 seasons as the head coach at Yale but never faced the Wildcats while at the helm in New Haven. That's not to say O'Leary is not familiar with head coach Kelly Amonte Hiller
, however; O'Leary was an assistant coach at Maryland during Amonte Hiller's freshman season, making Thursday the third time this season Amonte Hiller will coach against one of her former Terrapin mentors.
Scouting the Blue Jays
2011: 7-5 overall, 10-0 home, Receiving votes IWLCA
Last Three Games: L vs. Florida (14-10), L vs. Vanderbilt (14-13), W at Drexel (10-7)
Head Coach: Janine Tucker (Loyola (Md.) '88), 18th season at JHU (199-101, .663)
Key Players: Colleen McCaffrey (Jr., A): 29 goals, seven assists, 28 draw controls; Candace Rossi (Jr., A): 22 goals, 10 assists; Alyssa Kildare (Jr., D): 29 ground balls, 22 draw controls, 20 caused turnovers
Northwestern comes into the weekend riding an eight-game win streak against Johns Hopkins, which has brought the 'Cats' lead in the all-time series to 9-2. Last season, the Blue Jays represented themselves well against the Wildcats by leading 3-2 at halftime and ultimately playing NU to a tough 11-7 outcome at Lakeside Field in Evanston. JHU goalkeeper Cosette Larash, who as a sophomore this season has played every minute of every game for the Blue Jays, kept her squad in that game with 15 saves in the cage.
LoManto Anchors NU Defense
Junior goalkeeper Brianne LoManto has made a habit in recent weeks of turning away shots when her team needs it most. With her team struggling to score against No. 3 Duke, LoManto stopped eight Blue Devil shots in the second stanza and finished with a season-high 11 for the game on her way to womenslacrosse.com National Defensive Player of the Week honors. It was the sixth time in her career she has reached double-digit saves in her career. LoManto's hot streak rolled over into a weekend series against Penn State and Penn as she totaled 17 saves in the two games, shining against the Nittany Lions with just two second-half goals against. LoManto, who last year finished one save shy of NU's single-season record, sits fourth all-time at Northwestern with 256 career stops.
Northwestern Looks To Continue Dominance of ALC
Few teams in any sport have had as much success against their conference opponents as Northwestern has had against American Lacrosse Conference foes over the past seven seasons. By knocking off Penn State last Friday, NU stretched its streak of consecutive regular-season ALC victories to 38 dating to the 2004 season. Vanderbilt was the last ALC team to beat the Wildcats, defeating Northwestern 10-9 in overtime on May 6, 2004, in Evanston. Northwestern has won six consecutive ALC titles and has won all four ALC tournaments since its inception in 2007.
Leonard Nabs Second ALC Rookie of the Week Honor
Freshman midfielder Alyssa Leonard was recognized as the Rookie of the Week in the American Lacrosse Conference for the second time this year on Tuesday after her reliable play on draw controls sparked Northwestern's offense in home victories over No. 15 Penn State and No. 8 Penn last weekend. After scooping up five draw controls against the Nittany Lions, Leonard notched eight against the Quakers, including a stretch of four out of five that allowed NU to break free from a 7-7 game in the second half. Leonard leads the Wildcats with 54 draw controls, the sixth-best per-game average in the nation (4.50).
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