This time, the Gators gave the Wildcats their worst defeat in Kelly Amonte Hiller’s 12 seasons as coach.
Scoring early (three goals in the first 90 seconds) and often (most goals against an Amonte Hiller team), third-ranked Florida (16-1) rolled to a 22-4 victory on a rainy Saturday in Gainesville.
This was Florida’s third straight victory - and fourth in the last five games - with Northwestern, the defending NCAA champion.
The teams did not meet in last year’s NCAA tournament because Syracuse upset then top-ranked Florida in the semifinals.
"They (Florida) executed really well and deserve all the credit for that," Amonte Hiller said. "We need to reevaluate ourselves and be ready for our next game."
That is Wednesday at No. 7 Notre Dame.
This defeat was so bad it could cost Northwestern home-field advantage in the second round of the NCAA tournament, which the Wildcats have won seven of the last eight years. It might also drop them to the third seed in the upcoming American Lacrosse Conference tournament.
Florida had routed Northwestern 14-7 in the final of last year's ALC tourney.
Among the low points:
*The most lopsided previous defeat in the Amonte Hiller era had been 16-4 against Ohio State in just the third game of her tenure.
*The most goals Northwestern (13-2) had allowed under Amonte Hiller was 18 to North Carolina in 2010.
*Not since a 14-3 loss to Syracuse in 2003 had the Wildcats scored fewer than four goals in a game.
What made the rout even more stunning is Florida’s lone defeat this year had been 16-11 at Penn State, a team Northwestern beat 11-3 six days later.
Multiple Northwestern turnovers helped Florida take a 13-2 lead at halftime. The Gators scored on 22 of their 28 shots, as Wildcat goalie Bridget Bianco made just one save.
Shannon Gilroy, who had scored seven goals against the Wildcats in last year's ALC final, led her team again Saturday with five.