No. 4 Florida beats No. 5 Northwestern to claim outright ALC title
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Fourth-ranked Florida finished the season undefeated in the American Lacrosse Conference to win its fourth consecutive ALC title and first outright since 2012 after surviving a late run by No. 5 Northwestern on Saturday. Sammi Burgess scored a career-high-tying four goals to lead the Gators past the Wildcats.
Florida (15-2, 6-0 ALC) took an early 3-0 lead just 7:50 into the game, eventually working to a 7-4 lead before halftime. The Gators came out strong in the second stanza as well, going up 11-5 with 17:25 left in the game. Northwestern (9-5, 3-3 ALC) then methodically starting chipping away at Florida’s lead, scoring three goals in three and a half minutes to move the score to 11-8 with 13:46 to play.
The Wildcats went on to score four of the final six goals, cutting the Gators’ lead to 13-12 with 2:09 on the clock. With 14 seconds left, Northwestern’s Kara Mupo found the back of the net to tie the game, but the goal was called off due to a crease violation. After that, Florida held on to the ball and the win as the clock dwindled down.
“It has been a wonderful ride this season and I credit our players for that," said head coach Amanda O'Leary. "They just work so hard each and every day. Often times, people just counted us out after losing so many seniors last year. I think this team just took it upon themselves to make sure they upheld that Florida lacrosse tradition of success. I think our coaching staff of Erica LaGrow and Michelle Tumolo did a tremendous job, as did our support staff of Karin Werth and Connie Andrews. It’s a total team effort and it all came together. I’m really, really proud of this group.”