HPU women take Big South regular-season lacrosse title in rout
Weathering an early storm, the High Point University women’s lacrosse team rolled to the Big South regular-season championship on Sunday.
After allowing Davidson to score five goals in the first 14:24, the Panthers shut down the Wildcat offense for just over 20 minutes of playing time while going up by nine goals and ran away to a 15-8 victory at Vert Stadium.
“We talked about what their game plan was going to be going into the game, and we knew what was going to happen but we weren’t as ready for it as we would have liked to have been,” HPU coach Lyndsey Boswell saId. “We had to work out some things in the first couple of minutes. When we had a break at halftime, we were able to talk through the stuff we were seeing and were able to make some changes. We started playing more as a team with more urgency and being more supportive of each other.”
By winning the regular-season title, HPU (11-5, 7-0) will host the conference tournament semifinals on Friday and finals on Sunday in addition to a first-round game as a higher seed on Wednesday. Davidson (10-6, 6-1) will be the No. 2 seed.
“This championship is important because we get to host the tournament and we’ve never hosted the tournament,” Boswell said. “The seniors get to walk across the stage (at graduation) on Saturday and then hopefully we get to play for another championship on Sunday. We’ll see how this week goes.”
Sara Kuhlman led the Panther scoring with four goals, on just five shots. Mackenzie Carroll, Alec Perry, Kendyl Gardner and Emily Meier had two each. Christie Dougherty, Jasmine Jordan and Kristina Renner had one apiece.
HPU was down 5-4 when it put the clamps on Davidson’s offense and scored 10 unanswered goals before the Wildcats got on the board again. HPU went ahead to stay on Renner’s goal with 9:34 left in the first half.
Davidson’s leading scorer, Emma Sissman, led the Wildcats with three goals to boost her total for the season to 43. But all came in the early barrage as the Wildcats gained most of the draw controls and repeatedly sliced through the HPU defense for easy shots.
“This was a big game to win the conference and host the tournament, which we haven’t done before,” defender Cissy Woodyard said. “We got in the huddle and said we need to start working harder because what we were doing wasn’t cutting it.
“From there on out, communication increased, hard work increased and it all fell together.”
Other than the five goals, Davidson got off just three more shots on goal in the first half and had just one in the second half before ending the drought with 15:34 to play.
Woodyard helped shut the Wildcats down by denying Sissman and second-leading scorer Ann Fucigna the ball as the Panthers jammed the Wildcats in front of the net. After scoring her three goals, Sissman got off just one more shot.
“The coaches told me of their tendencies so I just tried to stick to the game plan and do what I do best, which is work around the crease,” Woodyard said. “I tried to stay home and shut down their attackers, I was on a feeder so I was trying to their scorers from getting the ball.”