HPU’s Jordan finds home as lacrosse defender
For someone who started out the season as a midfielder, Jasmine Jordan is flourishing as a defender for the High Point University women’s lacrosse team.
That’s OK with her even though goal scorers often fetch most of the notoriety.
“People say offense wins games and defense wins championships,” Jordan said. “I think that’s true. On defense, when we execute it right, we’re in control. When the other attacker has the ball, we can control where they go and what they do. I just think it is fun to have someone challenge you and you beat them, you cause them to take a bad shot or you clear the ball out.”
Jordan, whose father Deric played college football and whose uncle is former Atlanta Braves standout Brian Jordan, got the opportunity to go to the defensive side when senior Courtney McLaughlin was sidelined by a knee injury.
“She’s developed a lot,” HPU coach Lyndsey Boswell said. “She’s always been on the field a lot. She’s really started to come out of her shell a lot as an athlete.”
Jordan came out of her shell so much and played so well that she was named the Big South Conference’s defensive player of the year and earned MVP honors in the Big South tournament while helping the Panthers defeat Davidson in winning the league’s first championship, which resulted in an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and a first-round game today at 5 p.m. against at-large selection Loyola of Maryland at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill’s Fetzer Field.
“It’s nice to get recognition for all your hard work but what is important was to get a ring as the first Big South champion ever, to have the whole team move on,” Jordan said. “I love our seniors and I wanted to play along with them as long as I can.”
If the Panthers defeat the Greyhounds, Jordan will get a chance to play with the seniors on Sunday against North Carolina. Advancing will be no easy task even though both teams are 10-8. Loyola, which plays lacrosse in the Big East, is the favorite as a team that has been ranked in the top 20, owns wins over top-20 teams this season and tied for second in the Big East regular season.
“They have a lot of scoring threats, something we’ve seen in our nonconference games and then again late in the conference season,” Boswell said. “Defensively, we’ve got to have our best day. If we have a good day, we match up pretty well.”
That will make Jordan another key player, having taken on something a defensive captain’s role after McLaughlin was sidelined.
“We gave her some more leadership duties when Courtney went down,” Boswell said. “It was nice to see her step up into that role. And she is a player that always asks a player if he doesn’t understand what is expected of her. She is a perfectionist.”
Said Jordan: “I like things to be done the right way.”
She’s also asked to help cover more than one player.
“It’s more challenging to multi-task and keep those aspects of the defense in mind,” Jordan said. “I like to challenge myself. It’s more gratifying when you have success if you’ve pushed yourself.
“Like if I’m in the back of the defense, there will be someone on the ball, so I will help with the players cutting through (in front of the goal) but I also have to pay attention so in the case the front defender gets beat, I can stop the ball. You’re picking up cutters, you are supporting, you’re taking to the rest of the defense, and there is a lot of communicating and sliding.”
Jordan led the team with 47 ground balls, had 32 draw (or face-off) controls) and forced 15 turnovers.
She believes the HPU defense is well-suited to stop the Greyhounds, who made it to the NCAA round of eight in each of the past two years.
“They are a great matchup for us,” Jordan said. “They like to drive and work the crease and those are some of our strengths defensively. But they are a bigger team, they’re aggressive, they are in a better conference and played better teams. It’s not their first time in the NCAA, and losing in their conference tournament gives them fire.
“But, us winning the conference tournament and going to the NCAA in the program’s third year also us gives us the same fire. So it should be a good game.”