Loyola ends HPU’s historic run
A lack of fire in the first half quickly doused High Point University’s hopes in its first visit to the NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament on Friday.
Loyola of Maryland, an at-large selection from the powerful Big East Conference, shredded the HPU defense for four goals in the first 7:39 of the first half and went on to pound the Big South champion Panthers 18-7 in a first-round game at Fetzer Field.
“(Starting slow) is something we’ve struggled with all year,” HPU coach Lyndsey Boswell said. “I thought we were going to be able to fix it. We just weren’t able to. Loyola is great team and is well coached. So I don’t want to discredit them. When I say we didn’t show up, we legitimately didn’t show up. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t do their part in taking advantage that we didn’t show up.”
During the early onslaught, the Greyhounds (11-8) ran through the Panthers for goals in transition, easily found holes in the HPU defense in front of the goal on set plays and bottled up the HPU offense with physical play.
The Greyhounds led 6-0 before Christie Dougherty put HPU (10-9) on the board with 7:52 to play in the first half. Loyola scored four more goals for a 10-1 halftime cushion as the Greyhounds had more goals than HPU had shots (eight).
The lead grew to as many as 12 in the second half.
“Our game plan was pretty good and I thought the girls were prepared,” Boswell said. “We knew what we were in for. We just didn’t execute. We didn’t bring it at the beginning of the game. They took momentum and filled us with a little bit of doubt. We weren’t able to dig out of the hole we dug in the first 15 minutes. If we had played at the beginning of the game the way we did at the end, we might have been in a different position. But down 10-1, it’s hard to overcome a deficit like that.”
Alec Perry and Leah Pace took care of the Panthers scoring in the second half as each fashioned a hat trick. All were either unassisted or free position shots.
“I expected them to be physical,” Perry said of the Greyhounds defense. “They are not in the NCAAs for no reason. I thought we would come out more matched up with them. But we just didn’t have the fire we should have.”
HPU was more efficient on offense and defense and played Loyola relatively even in the second half. The number of HPU shots for the game matched the number of Loyola goals but the margin of defeat was the worst this season for the Panthers.
Perry’s goals extended her streak of scoring at least one in each game this season.
“I came into this season realizing I needed to do more for me team,” said Perry, a junior midfielder. “I tried to do as much as I could and that led to my goals.”