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NU advances to ALC Championship to face familiar opponent

Future Big Ten opponents Northwestern and Ohio State have started their conference rivalry a bit early. In four games since 2012, the two teams have played to a one-point match. In the last matchup, the Buckeyes beat the Wildcats for the first time since 2003 in overtime. Saturday night was a different story.

NU fought back from a three-goal deficit in the second-half to take down Ohio State in the semifinals of the last-ever ALC Tournament. The Cats will take on Florida in the Championship, just as they have every year since 2011.

Florida held a lead for all of the first half, though they never pulled further than two goals ahead until eight minutes into the second half.

With 15:49 left, NU's seniors took over. Goals by Alyssa Leonard and Christy Turner pushed the Cats from a two-goal deficit to tied n a matter of 20 seconds. Turner added another one two minutes later to give NU its first lead of the match.

The Cats scored their last goal with 12 minutes left in the second half but played stellar defense to hold Florida to just one goal in the final 16 minutes of the game.

NU gets a day off before the Championship on Sunday. Florida is the No. 1 seed in this year's tournament and easily took down No. 5 Johns Hopkins, 11-6, in the semifinals.

The Cats lost to Florida on April 19 this year, a 13-12 game in the final match of the conference regular season.

NU's trip to the finals means they will have played in every ALC Tournament Championship since it started in 2007. They've won it all but one time, when Florida beat them 14-7 on the Gators' home field in 2012. Last year's final was a convincing 8-3 NU victory.