Gators are Top Seed for NCAA Lacrosse Tourney

Gainesville, Fla. – After an outstanding performance in Saturday's American Lacrosse Conference Championship game, the University of Florida lacrosse team earned the No. 1 overall seed for the 2012 NCAA Tournament. Florida will take on the America East champion Albany (12-5, 3-3 AE) at Donald R. Dizney Stadium on Saturday, May 12, at 1 p.m.

"It's a proud moment for all of us," said Head Coach Amanda O'Leary. "I think these young women worked really, really hard for this, and just to see their name at the No. 1 seed says a lot about our program and certainly where we're headed."

The Gators earn their second-straight trip the NCAA Tournament, receiving the No. 4 seed in 2011. Florida hosted Stanford on May 14, 2011, in the first-ever NCAA Lacrosse Tournament game ever played in the state of Florida, where UF defeated the Cardinal 13-11 in the first round. The Gators then hosted Duke the following weekend, but came up short, falling 13-9 to the Blue Devils.

Florida and Albany will meet for the first time on Saturday.

"We're absolutely thrilled," said junior attacker Caroline Chesterman (South Nyack, N.Y.). "We couldn't ask for a better position than number one. We're going to face a really good team in Albany, and we're just really excited."

Florida is 4-0 all-time against members of the America East conference, including wins over UMBC and Stony Brook earlier this season. The Great Danes are 2-2 against current members of the ALC, defeating Penn State in the 2011 regular season, splitting a pair of contests with Vanderbilt and falling, 18-4, to Northwestern in the 2011 NCAA Tournament Quarterfinals.

Should the Gators advance, they will host the winner of the first-round matchup between #8 Towson and Penn State next weekend. Florida is 3-0 against fellow-ALC member Penn State, including a 20-11 victory last month. UF has never faced Towson and has played just one contest against a CAA opponent, defeating William & Mary, 21-8, on Mar. 17.

Florida will be looking for its first-ever Final Four appearance, hoping to participate in the final two rounds hosted by Stony Brook University in Stony Brook, N.Y. Should the Gators claim a national title, they would be the fastest program in history to do so, passing Northwestern's 2005 title which came in the Wildcats' fourth season as a reinstated Division I program.

Northwestern captured the second seed and will face at-large bid Notre Dame on Saturday at 4 p.m. The winner of that game will take on the victor ACC at-large teams #7 Duke and Virginia. ACC Champion Maryland claimed the third seed, and will face Atlantic 10 Champion Massachusetts on Saturday at 2 p.m, with the winner taking on either #6 Loyola, the BIG EAST Champion, or at-large bid Penn.

Syracuse earned the fourth seed and will host Ivy League Champion Dartmouth on Sunday, with the winner facing the advancing team out of #5 North Carolina and Navy.

Florida is 4-2 this season against NCAA Tournament teams, having faced North Carolina (L, 9-11), Syracuse (L, 11-12 OT), Penn State (W, 13-11), Dartmouth (W, 20-4) and Northwestern (W, 8-7; W, 14-7). The Gators are 7-7 all-time against the 2012 tournament field, having seen six of the 15 opposing teams in this year's tournament.

Albany Head Coach John Battaglino took the reigns of the program at the start of the 2011 season, leading the Great Danes to a perfect, 15-0, regular-season record, their first-ever America East Tournament Championship and their first bid to the NCAA Tournament. Albany won the first 18 games of the year before falling to eventual National Champion Northwestern, 18-4, in the NCAA Quarterfinals.

The Great Danes opened the season ranked No. 16 in the nation in the Inside Lacrosse/deBeer media poll and rose as high as 13th on Mar. 19 after defeating Boston College, 16-12, but a pair of losses to Massachusetts and UMBC dropped Albany out of the rankings. The Great Danes went just 3-3 in regular-season conference play, but earned the fourth seed for the America East Tournament, where they knocked off top-seeded Boston University and second-seeded Stony Brook to win their second-straight conference championship.

2012 NCAA Lacrosse Championship First-Round Schedule

#1 Florida (17-2) vs. Albany (12-5) – May 12 at 1 p.m.
#2 Northwestern (17-2) vs. Notre Dame (13-4) – May 12 at 4 p.m.
#3 Maryland (17-3) vs. Massachusetts (19-1) – May 12 at 2 p.m.
#4 Syracuse (16-3) vs. Dartmouth (12-4) – May 13 at 4 p.m.
#5 North Carolina (14-3) vs. Navy (18-2) – May 12 at Noon
#6 Loyola (13-5) vs. Penn (9-7) – May 13 at 1 p.m.
#7 Duke (11-6) vs. Virginia (11-7) – May 13 at 2 p.m.
#8 Towson (16-3) vs. Penn State (11-6) – May 12 at 3 p.m.
#4 Syracuse (16-3) vs. Dartmouth (12-4) – May 13 at 4 p.m.
#5 North Carolina (14-3) vs. Navy (18-2) – May 12 at Noon
#6 Loyola (13-5) vs. Penn (9-7) – May 13 at 1 p.m.
#7 Duke (11-6) vs. Virginia (11-7) – May 13 at 2 p.m.
#8 Towson (16-3) vs. Penn State (11-6) – May 12 at 3 p.m.
#4 Syracuse (16-3) vs. Dartmouth (12-4) – May 13 at 4 p.m.
#5 North Carolina (14-3) vs. Navy (18-2) – May 12 at Noon
#6 Loyola (13-5) vs. Penn (9-7) – May 13 at 1 p.m.
#7 Duke (11-6) vs. Virginia (11-7) – May 13 at 2 p.m.
#8 Towson (16-3) vs. Penn State (11-6) – May 12 at 3 p.m.

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