HIGH POINT, N.C. — The High Point University women’s lacrosse team got five goals a piece from senior Heather Ziccarelli and sophomore Alec Perry in its first National Lacrosse Conference game of the season, an 18-12 win over Jacksonville University on Friday night at Vert Stadium. The Panthers scored six of the last eight goals and got seven saves from goalie Anna Wallingford.
“We’re really excited to get this win over Jacksonville to start conference play,” said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. “Our defense played really well, especially at the end of the first half. Jacksonville is a team that can go on runs and we wanted to limit that. We were able to go on a run in the end. It was a great all-around team effort and it’s great to get five goals from Alec Perry and Heather Ziccarelli out of the midfield. Anna made some saves that she hasn’t made this season and Jasmine Jordan was great on the draws.”
Ziccarelli also picked up two ground balls and had three draw controls and Perry had three ground balls and two caused turnovers. Perry scored three times on four free-position attempts. Junior attacker Grace Gaeng also had a five-point performance on a goal and four assists and sophomore Mackenzie Carroll came off the bench for two goals and two assists. Sophomore defender Jasmine Jordan had five draw controls and three ground balls to lead the defense.
Jacksonville also had a five goal performance from Morgan Derner while attacker Ali Hoffman scored twice. Rachel Hannon grabbed five draws. Junior goalie Karli Tobin made 10 saves and had a caused turnover and ground ball.
High Point improved to 7-2 overall and 1-0 in the National Lacrosse Conference while Jacksonville moved to 7-3 overall and 1-1 in NLC play.
The game began evenly, tied 2-2 after Carroll’s first goal on a free-position shot nine minutes into play, before Jacksonville scored three in a row. Holly Ventimiglia started the run that gave the Dolphins a 5-2 edge. The Panthers were able to close on goals by Carroll, Sara Kuhlman and Ziccarelli in the final 10:31 of the first half, tying it at the break. Gaeng assisted on the last two goals.
Coming out of halftime, Jacksonville’s Hannon won the draw and scored just nine seconds into play. The 6-5 lead was the last time the Dolphins were ahead as Perry tied it on a free-position shot with 28:04 remaining. HPU sophomore Christie Dougherty gave the Panthers a lead but Jacksonville was able to tie it up twice more at 7-7 and 8-8.
Two scores by Ziccarelli put high Point ahead for good. Her goal at 20:06 was the game-winner. She made it 10-8 when she made a great cut from the right side to get the shot off with 18:47 to play. The Dolphins were able to get back within a goal when Chelsea Watts fired a quick pass to Nicole Albino for the score, but the Panthers were back out front by two goals on another Perry score. Gaeng fired a great pass from behind the net and Perry was able to catch and shoot in one motion to make it 11-9 with 17:42 remaining.
Jacksonville continued to press in the middle part of the second half, with Derner scoring to get it back within a goal, before the Panthers went on a six-goal run to put the game away. Perry started the run and then scored her fifth goal of the game to make it 16-10 with 4:24 remaining. Sophomore defender Patricia Bigelow capped the run with the first goal of her career with 3:14 left in the game. After clearing the ball into the offensive zone, Bigelow was fouled. Upon the whistle, she curled around the net and fired it in from the left side.
Jacksonville’s Hoffman and Amanda Hurley both scored in the last two minutes, sandwiching Ziccarelli’s last goal to make it an 18-12 final.
In the second half, the Panthers outscored Jacksonville, 13-7, outshot the Dolphins 20-10 and won 12 of 15 ground balls. Wallingford earned her sixth win of the season.
High Point is off until next Saturday when it hosts Presbyterian College at 1 p.m. at Vert Stadium. It will be the Panthers’ second NLC game of the year.