HPU Downs Presbyterian to Advance to NLC Semifinals

DAVIDSON, N.C. -- High Point earned a 15-3 victory over Presbyterian in the quarterfinals of the NLC tournament on Friday afternoon in Davidson, N.C. The Panthers were led by Chelsea Thompson (Arnold, Md./Broadneck) and Grace Gaeng (Bel Air, Md./John Carroll School), who had five points apiece.

"I was happy with the way we controlled the tempo of the game for all 60 minutes, that's something we've been working on all season," said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. "We're very excited to win a conference tournament game and advance to the semifinals. Every person on the team contributed to this win and helped us control all areas of the game. It took a little while to get back into the swing after two weeks off, but we picked up where we left off."

High Point improved to 13-3 overall while Presbyterian dropped to 4-13. The Panthers earned the No. 2 seed in the NLC Tournament with a 6-1 league record and will play in the NLC semifinals on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.

Thompson scored four goals and had one assist and Gaeng had three goals and two assists for the Panthers. Freshman Mackenzie Carroll (Arnold, Md./Severn) scored two goals and had three draw controls and Alec Perry (Lewes, Del./Cape Henlopen) had a goal, an assist and three ground balls. Goalie Lauren Hayes (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown (Connecticut)) made three saves.

For Presbyterian, Brianne Ward, Laurea Meade and Kelsey Rupsch scored. Rachel Sweeney grabbed three ground balls and goalie Susan England made 13 saves for the Blue Hose.

High Point took the lead early when Christie Dougherty (Rocky Point, N.Y./Rocky Point) scored just 42 seconds into the game, and the Panthers never looked back. HPU scored the first five goals of the game within nine minutes with Thompson scoring twice and assisting on Gaeng's first goal of the game. Thompson scored her second goal 8:55 into play when she came from behind the left post and put the ball past Presbyterian's England.

In the middle part of the first half, Presbyterian scored twice and kept the Panthers off the board for 16:05. Ward and Meade both scored for the Blue Hose before HPU scored three times in the final six minutes.

Freshman Kelsey Mugele got HPU's offense started back up when she scored on an assist from Gaeng with 5:58 left in the half. Gaeng netted her second goal of the game from the left side on a feed from Alec Perry (Lewes, Del./Cape Henlopen) to give HPU a 7-2 lead with 5:08 left. Junior Heather Ziccarelli (Rochester, N.Y./Rush Henrietta (Monroe CC)) had a great scoring chance a minute before halftime but her low shot hit the right post. The Panthers kept getting scoring opportunities in the last minute and Gaeng passed it to Ziccarelli for a quick shot with 7.2 seconds on the clock, making it 8-2 at the half.

HPU started the second half much like the first with a quick goal but this time made it three quick goals. The first came just 14 seconds into play when Jasmine Jordan (Baltimore, Md./Eastern Technical) got the draw control and took it all the way in for the score. Gaeng made it 10-2 when she threaded her way through two defenders to score 1:21 in and Thompson scored her third goal of the game 3:03 into the half to put the Panthers up, 11-2.

HPU continued to dominate play throughout the second half, keeping the Blue Hose off the board for over 28 minutes. Carroll made a great play when she stole the ball from England and turned around to shoot it in, then went on to score again less than three minutes. Freshman Kelly James (Frederick, Md./Governor Thomas Johnson) scored on a free-position shot with 8:38 left to make it 15-2.

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