GAINESVILLE, Fla. - No. 5 seed Florida Lacrosse heads north for the NCAA quarterfinals on Saturday in a meeting with No. 4 seed Syracuse in Syracuse, N.Y. Opening draw is set for 2 p.m. at the Carrier Dome and will air live on Sun Sports.
UF will be making their third consecutive appearance in the Elite 8 after defeating Denver, 16-5, in the NCAA second round on May 12. Saturday's game will mark the first postseason game outside of last year's national semifinal in Stony Brook
It will be a familiar match up for both teams as they meet for the second time this season. Florida won the meeting at the Orange Bowl Classic on March 2, 14-10, to even up the all-time series at 2-2. The Orange advanced to the quarterfinals by defeating Dartmouth, 21-8, on Sunday. Syracuse has the edge in NCAA Tournament action, as they eliminated Florida from the postseason in 2012 in the NCAA semifinals in Stony Brook in a 14-13 overtime win.
In more firsts for the squad, it marks the first time Gators have matched up with Syracuse on their home turf and will play inside the historic Carrier Dome for the program's first indoor contest.
The Gators rank in the top 10 in six statistical categories this season including the second-best scoring defense as they allow just 6.50 goals per game and the fourth-best scoring offense scoring 15.05 goals per game. They also rank second in scoring margin (8.55 goals per game) and seventh in ground balls (18.80 ground balls per game).
Florida is led by three-time All-American and ALC Offensive Player of the Year senior attack Kitty Cullen (Rockville, Md.) who has recorded 61 points on the season. Sophomore All-American Shannon Gilroy (Northport, N.Y.) and senior midfielder All-American Brittany Dashiell (Bel Air, Md.) each have a team-high 50 goals as the duo each have 50 or more draw controls on the season.
Tewaaraton finalist and All-American senior Mikey Meagher (Liverpool, N.Y.) holds down the defense, recording a .504 save percentage, which ranks fifth in the nation. In addition, Meagher ranks second in goals-against average (6.54) and a total of 113 saves for the 2013 season.
All-American defender senior Sam Farrell (Millersville, Md.) backs Meagher on the defensive end, recording a single-season career-high 24 caused turnovers and 24 ground balls. Seniors Emily Dohony (Parkton, Md.) and Kayla Stolins are in the midst of strong senior campaigns with Dohony grabbing a team-high 35 ground balls and Stolins with 42 draw controls.
This season the Orange are led by Tewaaraton Award finalist junior attack Alyssa Murray who leads with 100 points (61 goals, 39 assists), 30 ground balls, 21 draw controls and 17 caused turnovers. Freshman attack Kayla Treanor is having an outstanding rookie campaign as she leads the team with 64 goals and has 21 assists.
Senior defender Becca Block is the team's draw control specialist with 44 on the season while adding a team-high 28 caused turnovers. Goalies Kelsey Richardson and Alyssa Costantino have shared time in goal this season. Richardson holds a 12-1 record with .408 save percentage and 7.44 goals-against average. Costantino is 3-2 with a .398 save percentage and 9.80 goals-against average.
The winner of Saturday's game earns a berth to the NCAA Final Four next Friday in Villanova, Pa.
Saturday's game can be found on Sun Sports in Florida (DISH 422 and DirecTV 635 outside of Florida) with Larry Vettel and MC McFadden calling the action. A live radio broadcast can be heard in Gainesville on ESPN 850 and on GatorZone.com with Cory Stephens and Kyle Benzion on the call.