DAVIDSON, N.C. — The High Point University women’s lacrosse team got a 9-7 win over Davidson in the Big South championship game, earning an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament in heavy rain on Sunday afternoon at Richardson Stadium in Davidson, N.C. HPU defender Jasmine Jordan was named Tournament MVP.
“This is what we’ve been building toward since day one, when we started the program four years ago,” said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. “Our goal has always been to get to the NCAA Tournament so it’s incredible to go this year. We had great defensive plays, caused turnovers and made plays in the midfield that led to our offense.
“We have no idea who we’ll play or where we’ll play so we’ll concentrate on getting some rest. Then we’ll come back and be ready for anything.”
HPU’s Alec Perry, Emily Meier and Cissy Woodyard were named to the All-Tournament team along with Jordan. Perry scored three goals and had three ground balls, two caused turnovers and a draw control in the championship game. Meier scored twice and junior midfielder Christie Dougherty also had a hat trick. HPU goalie Anna Wallingford earned the win with four saves.
Davidson’s Ann Fucigna had a hat trick and was named to the All-Tournament team along with goalie Jessica Melby (10 saves) and defender Erin McGuire.
High Point improved to 10-8 overall with the win. Davidson finished the season 11-7. The NCAA Tournament field will be announced on Sunday, May 5, at 9 p.m. on NCAA.com.
The game was close all the way with the Panthers earning their first lead with 20:24 left in the game. Davidson led, 5-4, at halftime before HPU came out and scored the first two goals of the second frame.
The first goal after halftime came when Perry caused a turnover in the midfield and passed it ahead to senior Grace Gaeng. Gaeng dodged a defender and scored with 27:13 left to make it 5-5. Dougherty’s third goal of the game made it 6-5, marking the Panthers’ first lead. She received a pass from Kuhlman and went to her right, firing a shot into the top of the net with 20:24 left in the game.
Davidson tied it with Fucigna’s third goal. It came on a free-position shot with 18:47 on the clock. The Panthers got the game-winner from Perry on a free-position shot just over a minute later. Her shot rang off the right post and into the net to make it 7-6 with 17:40 to go.
Meier gave HPU a two-goal lead on an assist from Kendyl Gardner but Davidson was able to come back with a score from Alanna Parker, making it 8-7 with 13:53 to go. The Panthers had possession for most of the later part of the game. Perry’s third goal of the game gave insurance with 7:36 on the clock. She evaded three defenders and went up the middle for the score.
The Panthers never led in the first half after Davidson’s Fucigna scored the first two goals of the game within the first 3:30 of play. HPU tied it twice, 2-2 on a Meier score and 4-4 on Dougherty’s first goal. Davidson’s Erin Doherty gave the Wildcats a 5-4 halftime lead on a pass from Emily Cooke from behind the net with 1:56 left in the first half.
High Point outshot Davidson, 30-14, and held the Wildcats to 9-for-15 on clear attempts. In the second half, HPU turned the ball over just four times compared to Davidson’s 11.
The Panthers will have a week off before learning their first-round opponent and site for the NCAA Tournament. First-round games will be played on May 10. Six of the 26 tournament teams get a bye from the first round and second-round games will be played on May 12.