May 2, 2012
2012 American Lacrosse Conference Tournament
No. 1 Northwestern (16-1, 4-1 ALC) vs. No. 19 Johns Hopkins (8-8, 1-4 ALC)
Friday, May 4 3:30 p.m. CT
Donald R. Dizney Stadium Gainesville, Fla.
Live Stream: GatorZone.com
ALC Tournament Central Website (Schedule, Links to Live Stats)
Live Twitter Updates: @NU_SportsLIVE
Northwestern Game Notes -- ALC Tournament
EVANSTON, Ill. -- With 37 victories in the last 38 postseason games she has coached, Kelly Amonte Hiller leads her top-ranked Northwestern squad into the month of May and the postseason that comes with it when the Wildcats travel to the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament hosted by the University of Florida. The only champion in the five-year history of the event, the Wildcats begin play in the first semifinal game (3:30 p.m. CT, Friday) against 19th-ranked Johns Hopkins, which upset third-seeded Penn State in the opening round.
Should the Wildcats advance to the ALC Championship game, that match will take place at 11:30 a.m. CT Saturday in Gainesville. Northwestern (16-1) enters the tournament as the No. 2 seed after finishing with a 4-1 mark in league play this season. Host Florida (15-2, 5-0) earned the top seed and will face either Ohio State or Vanderbilt in Friday's second semifinal contest (6 p.m. CT).
Regardless of who Northwestern may draw in its semifinal or potential championship game contests, Amonte Hiller knows her team must play its best to win in a conference where all six member schools have been ranked in the top-20 nationally throughout much of the season.
"It's pretty exciting to see the talent level in our conference, where any given team can win on any day," Amonte Hiller said. "Vanderbilt has upset Duke (this season), Florida beat us and we went to overtime with Ohio State, so just to see the upsets across the country has been really cool. Johns Hopkins has had a great season also.
"Then to see the success we've had (as a league) outside of the conference has been great. We're rooting for our conference and we hope that we get quite a few teams in the NCAA Tournament this year, I think the league deserves it."
Following the 'Cats
Florida will stream all five games of the ALC Tournament for free on its website, GatorZone.com. Fans also are encouraged to log on to Twitter and follow the username @NU_SportsLIVE for in-game updates from Gainesville.
(6) Johns Hopkins:
8-8 overall, 1-4 ALC, No. 19 IWLCA
Last Meeting: NU 16, Johns Hopkins 12 (April 15)
All-Time Series: NU leads, 10-3
Streak: NU won 1
Postseason Meetings: NU 1-0
Northwestern Against the ALC
As the five-time defending champion of the ALC Tournament and a seven-time league champion, Northwestern enters play this weekend with a lifetime record of 54-12 against conference foes, including a 41-3 mark since the start of the 2005 season. Last season, NU entered the tournament without the No. 1 seed for the first time and still managed to bring home the trophy in thrilling fashion, coming back from three goals down in the second half to defeat top-seeded Florida, 10-9, in Nashville. The following is a look at NU's outcomes in the previous five conference tournaments:
2007 ALC Championship (Baltimore, Md.): Semifinals: Northwestern 19, Penn State 7 Final: Northwestern 22, Johns Hopkins 6
2008 ALC Championship (Evanston, Ill.):
Semifinals: Northwestern 15, Penn State 7 Final: Northwestern 14, Vanderbilt 3
2009 ALC Championship (University Park, Pa.):
Semifinals: Northwestern 15, Vanderbilt 10 Final: Northwestern 13, Penn State 3
2010 ALC Championship (Columbus, Ohio):
Semifinals: Northwestern 17, Penn State 9 Final: Northwestern 23, Vanderbilt 14
2011 ALC Championship (Nashville, Tenn.):
Semifinals: Northwestern 14, Penn State 3 Final: Northwestern 10, Florida 9
Last Time Out
A dominant second-half performance in which No. 1 Northwestern outscored No. 9 Virginia by an 11-2 margin lifted the Wildcats to a 13-6 victory in its regular-season finale at Lakeside Field Saturday afternoon. Northwestern got off to a slow start in the first half, finding the back of the net just twice while Virginia goalkeeper Kim Kolarik notched five early saves. But everything changed after halftime, with three NU goals in the first four minutes out of the break giving the Wildcats their first lead of the day and setting them on course for the win. NU received critical contributions from up and down the lineup, including a four-goal, five-point effort by Shannon Smith and two highlight-reel goals by juniorTaylor Thornton. Junior Gabriella Flibotte pitched in with four hard-fought draw controls and scored on a long-distance blast during NU's run early in the second stanza.
Wildcat 'D' Among Nation's Best
Northwestern's defense has ranked among the stingiest in the country all season, beginning this week second nationally with a scoring defense average of 7.18 per game. Senior goalkeeper Brianne LoManto continues to lead all netminders in goals against average at 6.84 after helping to hold the nation's sixth and ninth-ranked teams to seven and six goals, respectively, last week.
Flibotte Lifts 'Cats with Midfield Play
Junior Gabriella Flibotte has emerged lately as one of NU's most active two-way midfielders, notching 15 draw controls in the last four games after never having more than two in any of the first 13 games of the year. She also has 10 ground balls and four caused turnovers in that span and has not been shy in the offensive third, firing home a long-range goal against Virginia during NU's comeback from a 4-2 halftime deficit.
Smith Climbs Northwestern, NCAA Record Lists
Senior attacker Shannon Smith's has moved into some impressive company on both the NU and NCAA career scoring lists. Her back-to-back five-point efforts against top-10 foes last week inched her to within six goals of matching Kristen Kjellman's school record of 244 for her career. She also stands third on NU's career assists list (100) and needs just five points to match her for second in career points. Smith, who has started all 85 games in her career, also has shot up the NCAA all-time lists for both points (ninth, 344) and goals (12th, 244).
Be sure to stay up to date on potential first and second-round NCAA Tournament games being hosted by Northwestern during the month of May. The bracket for the 2012 NCAA Tournament will be announced at 8 p.m. CT Sunday and posted immediately to NUsports.com.
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