Gardner Scores Five Goals as HPU Women’s Lacrosse Defeats Elon 11-4

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s lacrosse team overcame an early 2-0 deficit to pull away in an 11-4 win over Elon on Sunday afternoon at Vert Stadium. Junior Kendyl Gardner scored five goals for the Panthers including a hat trick in the first half.

“I thought our defense looked great today,” said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. “We did a good job of staying within the goals that we set defensively. Kendyl has been consistantly hard working all year but the execution has been missing. Today, she had urgency and the things she practiced all week really paid off.”

HPU’s defense held Elon to just two goals after the Phoenix scored a pair of goals in the first nine minutes of the game. The Panthers responded with four unanswered goals including three by Gardner. Gardner’s first goal came with 10:56 left in the first when she caught a pass from senior Sara Kuhlman and beat an Elon defender before sending her shot past Elon’s freshman goalkeeper, Rachel Ramirez. Gardner and Kuhlman connected again less than two minutes later leading to a high shot by Gardner that snuck past Ramirez. Her third and final goal of the half came with 4:31 left in the off a free-position shot to put HPU up 4-2 before Elon tacked on another goal in the last minute to make it 4-3 going into the break.

Gardner wasted little time picking up her fourth goal and the first of the second half when Kuhlman found her for the third time with a pass that led to the Panthers regaining a two goal advantage, 5-3. Following Elon’s Anna Vitton’s second goal of the day, HPU rattled off the six goals, including one more by Gardner off an assist fromMackenzie Carroll, and didn’t allow another Phoenix score to close the game out 11-4.

The Panthers also received two goals from sophomore Emily Meier and one apiece from Carroll, Allie Foard,Stephanie Pazulski and Jasmine Jordan. Carroll also had two assists to move into the team-lead with nine on the year while Kuhlman’s three assists now gives her eight this season. Foard also tallied an assist in the win.

With the win, HPU moves back to .500 with a 4-4 record. Elon drops to 5-7 on the year.

The Panthers finished the game a perfect 18-of-18 on clear attempts while limiting the Phoenix to 11-for-16 on clears. HPU outshot Elon 30-15 and picked up 18 ground balls to Elon’s 10.

Junior Julia Burns played a tick over 58 minutes in the cage to pick up the win for the Panthers. Burns made eight saves for HPU and lowered her league-leading goals-against average to 9.13. Ramirez took the loss for Elon while making 14 saves.

High Point has a quick turnaround as the team wraps up non-conference play on Wednesday at home against Duke. The Blue Devils are 7-4 with a 2-2 mark in the ACC after losing to Syracuse, 19-15, on Saturday. The Panthers open up conference play on Thursday as the team hosts Presbyterian College.