HPU Women’s Lacrosse Upends Howard in NLC Quarterfinals

DAVIDSON, N.C. — The High Point University women’s lacrosse team got multiple goals from seven different players, including four a piece from senior Alexis Goldman and sophomore Kelsy Mugele, en route to a 24-4 win over Howard in the National Lacrosse Conference Tournament quarterfinals on Friday at Richardson Stadium in Davidson, N.C. HPU plays in the semifinals on Saturday at 11:30 a.m.

“We did a good job coming out with high energy and we did what we could to make sure everyone was getting an opportunity on the field,” said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. “We focused on draw controls and ground balls and I thought we did a pretty decent job with that. It’s hot outside so we were trying to rest a little bit while playing the game. I thought the girls were doing a good job being smart and saving some energy.”

High Point improved to 14-3 overall while Howard dropped to Howard 0-13. The Panthers won the NLC regular season with a 7-0 conference record.

Goldman and Mugele each totaled four goals and an assist while freshmen Kendyl Gardner and Katie McLaughlin each scored hat tricks. Junior attacker Grace Gaeng posted two goals and five assists and sophomore defender Megan Weisman scored the first two goals of her career and had two ground balls, two draw controls and two caused turnovers. Sophomore Chelsea Thompson came back from an injury played for the first time since March 30, scoring a goal with three assists against Howard.

The Bison got two goals, four ground balls and three caused turnovers from midfielder Courtland Lackey and a goal each from Cheryse Cox and Cynithia Smalls. Goalie Ashley Foote made five saves.

The Panthers jumped out to the lead and were able to play everyone in the first half. Goldman scored the first goal just 23 seconds into play before a pair of goals by Gardner. The Panthers led 5-0 when Gaeng scored with 24:22 remaining in the first half. Howard was able to get on the board when Lackey scored with 21:37 on the clock and got within 6-2 on Cox’s score with 14:59 remaining.

A Christie Dougherty goal with 14:07 left in the first half started a nine-goal High Point run that put the game out of reach. During that run, three goals in a row and four total were scored by Mugele, all four with assists from Gaeng.

Howard was able to open the scoring in the second half when Smalls moved from right to left through the HPU defense and scored in front with 26:43 left in the game. The Panthers were able to score three times in the next five minutes and go on another nine-goal run. The first two came on free-position shots by Goldman and Thompson and the third when Gaeng went straight up the middle and shot the ball off the ground and in with 21:08 left.

Freshman Stephanie Pazulski returned from an injury to play in her first game since March 10, taking many of HPU’s draws. She scored with 17:38 left in the game and had a game-high six draw controls. Weisman scored twice in a row with under 12 minutes left in the game and McLaughlin completed her hat trick with HPU’s final goal with 3:55 left on the clock. Lackey was able to put one more goal on the board, scoring into the top of the net with 22 seconds left.

Junior Anna Wallingford started in goal and played the first 15:53 before sophomore Lauren Hayes came in and played the most minutes in cage, making three saves in 31:34. Freshman Julia Burns played the final 12:33 of the game.

The Panthers move on to the NLC semifinals on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. and will face the winner of the No. 4 Davidson vs. No. 5 Longwood game, which starts at 2 p.m. The Panthers defeated Davidson, 12-5, and beat Longwood, 19-9, during the regular season.