HIGH POINT, N.C. — The High Point University women’s lacrosse team was within two goals in the second half in an eventual 13-7 loss to No. 3 Florida on Sunday afternoon at Vert Stadium. Junior midfielder Alec Perry scored three of HPU’s seven goals, which were the most any team has scored against the Gators this season.
“I thought we played well defensively and we were able to gain some confidence on offense,” said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. “Florida is one of the best teams in the nation so this will help show us where we stand at a national level. Alec had another great game. She worked extremely hard in the offseason and wants to be the best player on the field. It has shown so far.”
Perry now leads the Panthers with six goals on the season after back-to-back hat tricks. She also grabbed two draw controls and a ground ball. Sophomore attacker Kendyl Gardner scored twice and the Panthers also got goals from senior Grace Gaeng and junior Sara Kuhlman. Juniors Christie Dougherty and Jasmine Jordan both posted four ground balls and two caused turnovers for the Panthers.
The Gators were led offensively by Shannon Gilroy, who took most of Florida’s draws, won a game-high seven draw controls and scored three goals. Senior Caroline Chesterman also scored three goals and sophomore Nicole Graziano scored twice. Midfielder Brittany Dashiell had a goal, two assists, four ground balls and two draw controls.
High Point fell to 1-1 overall while Florida improved to 3-0.
High Point got on the board quick when Gardner scored her first goal with 28:03 left in the first half. She beat her defender in front of the goal and shot the ball over the shoulder of Florida goalie Mikey Meagher. Florida came back with three consecutive goals and led the rest of the way. Kitty Cullen collected a pass from Gabi Weigand for the Gators first goal with 26:28 remaining in the half. Gilroy added a free-position shot and Chesterman scored coming around the cage to make it 3-1.
Gaeng got the Panthers back within a goal on her first score of the season with 17:45 left in the first half. She took a pass from Gardner and went down the right side with a sidearm shot. Florida was able to open its lead up to three goals when Cullen scored on a free-position shot and Dashiell beat the defense to score with a low shot, making it 5-2.
Perry’s first goal came off a clear attempt. Jordan caused a turnover and took the ball into the midfielder, dishing to Perry at the top of the zone. Perry ran up the middle for the shot. The Gators got a free-position goal from Graziano to make it 6-3 at halftime.
High Point got back within two goals coming out of the break. Kuhlman cut up the center of the zone, took a pass from Gaeng and shot it in to make it 6-4 with 26:11 left in the game.
The Gators took over from there, scoring seven consecutive goals in less than 13 minutes. The first came from Chesterman when she curled around the net and shot it inside the left post. Florida led 8-4 when Gilroy went up the middle, spun and shot from her left for the goal with 21:32 remaining. It was 13-4 when Sam Darcangelo scored from the right side despite pressure from three defenders.
High Point came back with the last three goals of the game in less than three minutes. Gardner scored her second goal from the right side with 3:18 to go. Perry added another score off the ensuing draw, winning the draw and going straight in for the score. She finished her hat trick with 52 seconds on the clock, making the final 13-7.
Senior Anna Wallingford started in goal for High Point, making five saves on 15 shots on goal. Sophomore Julia Burns came in for the final 20:53 and made two saves. Freshman Lila Mastroberti took draws in the second half, winning a pair herself.
Meagher earned her third win of the season with five saves, including four in the second half. Mary-Sean Wilcox played the last 7:56 and made four saves.
Ground balls were even, 25-25, in the game but the Gators dominated draws, 16-6. The Panthers went a perfect 10-for-10 on clear attempts while Florida went 11-for-14.
The Panthers hit the road for the next four games. HPU starts the road trip with a game at Navy next Saturday at 4 p.m. Last year. High Point topped Navy, 11-10 last year at Vert Stadium.