The High Point University women’s lacrosse team plays Loyola (Md.) in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday, May 10 in Chapel Hill, N.C., it was announced on Sunday night. The Panthers won the Big South Tournament with a 9-7 win over Davidson on April 28 to earn their first NCAA berth.
“We’re so excited to get this matchup with the added bonus that it’s close to home,” said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. “Since we won the conference tournament last week, we’ve been completely focused on ourselves and how we can improve. Now that we know our opponent we can start preparing for the game. We’ve been working toward making the NCAA Tournament since we started building the program four years ago so we’re so excited to play this weekend.”
It will be the first-ever meeting between High Point and Loyola. The winner advances to play No. 3 North Carolina in the second round on Sunday, May 12, in Chapel Hill.
High Point is 10-8 overall heading into the NCAA Tournament. HPU played an extremely challenging non-conference schedule including NCAA qualifiers Florida, North Carolina, Navy and Denver. HPU went 6-1 in the Big South, finishing second in the regular season. HPU is ranked No. 33 in national RPI.
High Point features six All-Big South selections, including Big South Defensive Player of the Year Jasmine Jordan. Jordan was also named the Big South Tournament MVP. Along with Jordan, attacker Mackenzie Carroll and midfielders Sara Kuhlman and Alec Perry were named to the All-Conference first team. Senior attacker Grace Gaeng and junior midfielder Christie Dougherty were named to the second team.
High Point has featured a balanced offense with seven players scoring at least 13 goals and 20 points. Perry leads the team with 37 goals and scored at least once in every game this season. Carroll has 31 goals and 24 assists for a team-high 55 points on the season. Grace Gaeng has 26 goals and 20 assists for 46 points. She is HPU’s all-time scoring leader with 109 goals and 191 points along with a program-best 108 draw controls in 56 games.
Jordan leads High Point in ground balls (47) and caused turnovers (29) and ranks third for the Panthers with 32 draw controls. Kuhlman has 22 goals and seven assists along with 30 draw controls, 23 ground balls and 13 caused turnovers this season. Dougherty has a 13-7-20 scoring line with 28 ground balls and 17 draw controls this season.
Senior goalie Anna Wallingford has started every game in cage, posting a 10-8 record with a 10.18 goals against average and .385 save-percentage. Freshman Emily Meier has come on very strong in the second half of the season, getting 17 goals and three assists in the last 10 games. She was named to the Big South All-Tournament team.
High Point’s first varsity women’s lacrosse season was 2011 and the Panthers went 15-4 that year, setting record for wins by a first-year NCAA Div. I team. High Point won the National Lacrosse Conference Tournament that year but the league didn’t receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. HPU also went 15-4 in 2012 and has a 40-16 all-time program record.