April 30, 2011

High Point to Meet Jacksonville in NLC Final

from press release

DAVIDSON, N.C. - The High Point University women’s lacrosse team took a 15-7 victory over Longwood in the National Lacrosse Conference semifinals on Saturday afternoon. The Panthers advanced to the championship game against Jacksonville on Sunday at 1 p.m. Alexis Goldman (Winter Springs, Fla./Winter Springs (St. Andrews Presbyterian)) and Grace Gaeng (Bel Air, Md./The John Carroll School (Maryland)) each scored four goals for HPU.

“There have been a lot of firsts this year – this was our first time going to the conference tournament, yesterday was our first tournament win and today we advanced to the championship game for the first time,” said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. “We’re thankful for every opportunity and really looking forward to the finals and a rematch with Jacksonville.”

“Alexis was really focused and executed well today,” Boswell added. “She came up big with draw controls, went hard to the cage and shot 100 percent. Grace did what she has done all season. Offensively, we executed and shot well. Everyone did their part and we had some huge helpers off the bench. Lauren was solid in the cage playing behind our defense, which was strong again.”

The Panthers improved to 14-3 overall while Longwood finished its season at 10-8. The Lancers were two-time defending NLC champs. The Panthers earned the No. 2 seed entering the tournament with a 6-1 NLC record.

Along with her four goals, Gaeng added two assists for a game-high six points. Goldman grabbed five draw controls along with her four goals. Chelsea Thompson (Arnold, Md./Broadneck) scored three goals with two assists and freshman Mackenzie Carroll (Arnold, Md./Severn) had two goals and two assists. Defender Kelsey Kirby (Marriottsville, Md./Liberty High School) had five ground balls and two caused turnovers for the Panthers while goalie Lauren Hayes (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown (Connecticut)) made 11 saves.

For Longwood, Kesley Dean was the top scorer with two goals and an assist and Kathleen Battle grabbed five ground balls. Duan Wright had three draw controls, three ground balls and three caused turnovers. Goalie Juli Liebig made five saves for the Lancers.

Goldman got the Panthers out to a 4-1 lead when she scored three goals in a span of nine minutes. She scored the first goal of the game 7:03 into it followed by scores from Gaeng and Longwood’s Sam Stifler. Goldman then netted goals at 15:17 and 16:08 to put HPU up by three. However, the Panthers couldn’t put a significant gap on the Lancers until late in the first half.

With HPU leading 7-4, Sara Kuhlman (Cincinnati, Ohio/Mount Notre Dame) made a pass to Gaeng, who was able to split the defense and shoot the ball low left into the net with 6:18 left. Less than a minute later, Thompson scored on a free position shot when she took the ball from the left to center and shot it in. HPU’s Courtney McLaughlin (Apex, N.C./Apex (North Carolina)) won the ensuing draw control and took it into HPU’s defensive zone, she passed it across to Jasmine Jordan (Baltimore, Md./Eastern Technical), who evaded a Longwood attacker and started a series of passes that finished when Heather Ziccarelli (Rochester, N.Y./Rush Henrietta (Monroe CC)) passed it to Thompson in front, Thompson made a spin move and shot it in to make it 10-4 Panthers with 4:58 left in the first half, HPU’s third goal in a span of 1:30.

Longwood broke HPU’s scoring run when Amanda Bereznay scored on a feed from Jamie Brientlinger with 4:36 left in the first, but the Panthers didn’t give the momentum back. Dougherty scored 19 seconds later on a shot up the middle. In the final minute of the first half, Carroll found the back of the net for the second time on an assist from Gaeng.

Longwood was able to strike first in the second half. After HPU’s Thompson was called for a charge, the Lancers took the ball the length of the field and Mary Barondess scored on an assist by Kesley Dean. Gaeng scored shortly after on a free-position shot to get HPU’s lead back to seven. She juked right and shot the ball into the top right corner. Goldman made it 14-6 when she received a great pass from Carroll and shot it in from the near right side, her fourth goal of the game.

There were just two goals in the final 16 minutes of play – first a free-position goal by Longwood’s Hannah Riggs before Thompson scored her third of the game with 10:33 remaining.

Statistically, the game was very close but HPU’s Hayes was the difference. Longwood led the shot count, 25-22, and outshot HPU 15-9 in the second half. Hayes made 11 saves in the game and seven in the second half compared to Liebig’s five for the game.

High Point University plays Jacksonville in the NLC championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Davidson, N.C. The Dolphins handed High Point its only NLC loss of the season, a 17-10 defeat on March 25 in Jacksonville, N.C. Since then, the Panthers have won eight games in a row.

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