HIGH POINT, N.C. — The High Point University women’s lacrosse team led in the second half but Ohio State scored eight unanswered goals to get a 15-10 win over HPU on Sunday afternoon at Vert Stadium. Junior Alec Perry and freshman Kendyl Gardner each posted had tricks for High Point.
“We battled hard in the first half but unfortunately we didn’t take advantage of all of our possessions in the second half today,” said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. “It was good to get out here against a non-conference opponent today and really test ourselves. That will help us going into the Big South Tournament next weekend.”
Along with her hat trick, Perry posted two draw controls. She has scored at least one goal in every game this season. For Gardner, it was her fourth hat trick of the season. Junior defender Patricia Bigelow had five ground balls and four caused turnovers to lead the defense.
Ohio State got four goals each from Katie Chase and Kelsea Ayers and five assists each from Jackie Cifarelli and Cara Facchina. Chase led the team with four draw controls. Goalie Tori DeScenza made 13 saves to earn the win.
High Point fell to 8-8 overall while Ohio State improved to 7-8. The Buckeyes have played one of the toughest schedules in the nation this season.
High Point jumped out to a three-goal lead when Perry scored her second goal of the game, making it 5-2 with 21:00 left in the first half. Her goal finished a span of 4:31 in which seven goals were scored. Ohio State’s Chase scored the first goal of the game with 25:31 on the clock before freshman Emily Meier and Perry scored within 13 seconds of each other. Perry’s first goal came on a long pass from Meier and she beat a defender for the score. Chase’s second goal knotted the score at 2-2 before the Panthers scored three times in a row.
Ohio State was able to mount a comeback as the first half wore on. Jennifer Poretto scored going to her left with 17:41 remaining. After a Kaila Gottlikc goal, Porretto scored for the second time with an assist from Cifarello to make it 5-5 with 6:20 to go.
The Panthers retook the lead just before halftime, Perry scoring with one second left on the clock. HPU goalie Anna Wallingford grabbed a loose ball after a wide shot and the Panthers cleared it with 21 seconds on the clock. HPU searched for offense in the closing seconds, Dougherty hooking up with Perry for the score to make it 6-5 at halftime.
Ohio State’s Ayers scored the first goal of the second half, tying the game at 6-6 when she pushed a ground ball into the net with 29:16 left. The Panthers retook the lead on Gardner’s second goal with 22:42 remaining.
The Buckeyes took over with an 8-0 run between 18:59 and 5:15, mounting a 14-7 lead at that point. Ayers scored three times and Chase and Hallie Keselman each scored twice during the run. Cifarelli had three assists in that span.
High Point came back with three of the last four goals in the game but the Panthers’ rally came too late. It was the final home game for senior attacker Grace Gaeng, goalie Anna Wallingford and defender Courtney McLaughlin. Wallingford made eight saves in the game and Gaeng had two assists and two draw controls.
The game concluded the regular season for High Point. The Panthers are the No. 2 seed for the Big South Tournament, which consists of semifinals on Friday and a championship game on Sunday. The game is hosted by the No. 1 seed, Davidson, in Davidson, N.C. It’s the same site of the last two National Lacrosse Conference Tournaments. HPU was NLC Tournament champ in 2011 and NLC Tournament runner-up in 2012.