Gator Lacrosse Earns First Berth, Fourth Overall Seed in NCAA Tournament

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No. 4 seed Florida faces No. 13 seed Stanford on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Dizney Stadium 

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The Florida Gators will play host to the No. 13 MPSF Champion Stanford Cardinal in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday, May 14th at 1:00p.m.

This is the Gators’ first NCAA Tournament appearance in just its second year as a program. Florida is one of three newcomers to the NCAA Tournament, as Boston College and Albany also received bids for their first appearances in the postseason. Both Boston College and Albany’s programs began in 1992, marking 19 years from inception to their first NCAA appearance. Each of the three sports Florida has added since 1995 have earned NCAA berths in their second year of play: lacrosse (2011), softball (1998) and soccer (1996).

“We’re really excited,” ALC Coach of the Year Amanda O’Leary said. “It’s a great opportunity. For such a young program to be seeded fourth in the NCAA Tournament is such an accomplishment and I’m so proud of these young ladies and what they’ve done this season to earn this berth.”

Florida has big shoes to fill in making the NCAA Tournament in its second season. North Carolina began its program in 1996. By 1997, the Tar Heels were NCAA Semifinalists. The Gators have already surpassed the Tar Heels’ former IWLCA record No. 3 ranking in 1997 by Florida earning the No. 2 ranking in the country on April 25th.

The Gators are coming off their first ALC Championship game appearance, as they fell to second-seeded Northwestern, 9-10. Florida is led by ALC Player of the Year and Tewaaraton nominee Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) who has 79 points on the year (71 goals, 8 assists). The Gators are the 14th-ranked offense in the nation, averaging 13.72 goals per game.

Six Florida athletes earned ALC honors, as Cullen, sophomore attacker Ashley Bruns (Ellicott City, Md.) and sophomore defender Sam Farrell (Millersville, Md.) were named to the ALC First Team, while sophomore midfielder Janine Hillier (Farmingdale, N.Y.), sophomore defender Haydon Judge (Chestertown, Md.) and sophomore goalkeeper Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.) were named to the second team. Hillier, Farrell and sophomore defender Emily Dohony (Parkton, Md.) were named to the 2011 ALC All-Tournament Team.

“We’re really excited,” Gator co-captain Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.) said. “Stanford is a great team. We’ve prepared well for our opponents all season and we’re excited for them to come down to us. They’re definitely really good. We have a tough bracket but we’ll be ready. We’ll watch film this week, learn their tendencies and get ready for the game.”

The Gators will be one of eight teams to play at home in the 16-team first round field, with the chance of hosting a second round game if Florida makes it past the Cardinal. The winner of this game will face the winner of No. 5 Duke and No. 12 Penn, who play on Sunday the 15th at 2:00p.m.

 “It’s such an advantage to be able to play at home,” Gator co-captain Caroline Cochran (Annapolis, Md.) said. “We love playing at home. We’ve been really successful here and we have such a great fan base and that’s really going to help us.”

Stanford is the No. 2 scoring offense in the country, averaging 16.21 goals per game. Sarah Flynn leads Stanford with 48 goals, while MPSF Player of the Year Leslie Foard has 41 goals and 19 assists. Stanford will play in the NCAA tournament for the third time. The Cardinal is 0-2 in school history in the NCAA tournament, including last year when it lost 9-8 to James Madison in the first round.

Game Day Information, including ticket information, rosters, schedules, statistics and much more can be found on www.GatorZone.com on Monday morning at 8:00a.m.