High Point Downs Davidson to Win Inaugural Big South Crown

DAVIDSON, N.C. High Point held Davidson scoreless the final 13:53 and Alec Perry's insurance goal with 7:36 remaining lifted the No. 2-seeded Panthers past No. 1 seed Davidson, 9-7, to win the inaugural Big South championship on a rainy Sunday at Richardson Stadium on the campus of Davidson College. With the victory, High Point receives the Big South's automatic bid to the NCAA Women's Lacrosse Championship.

The tightly contested game was tied four times while the largest lead was just two goals. High Point (10-8) took the lead for good at 17:40 of the second half when Perry bounced a free-position shot past Davidson keeper Jessica Melby that gave the Panthers a 7-6 advantage. Perry and Christie Dougherty finished the game with three goals each.

Davidson's Ann Fucigna scored the game's first goal at 28:44 on a free-position attempt to give the Wildcats (11-7) a 1-0 lead. Fucigna made it 2-0 with a score at 26:30, but High Point cut the lead to 2-1 when Dougherty took Grace Gaeng's feed and bounced home a goal at 23:47. Later in the half, HPU goalie Anna Wallingford deflected a Lindsay Cooper shot at 15:01, and the Panthers converted on the next possession when Emily Meier tied the game at 2-2 with 13:52 remaining in the first half.

The Wildcats' Emma Sissman scored at 9:48 to give the Wildcats the lead again at 3-2, and Emily Rademacher made it 4-2 just 38 seconds later. Perry made it a one-goal game with 8:17 left in the first half and Dougherty tallied her second goal of the contest at 6:38 to knot the score at 4-4. Davidson regained the lead at 1:56 when Erin Doherty converted Emily Cooke's pass for the eventual 5-4 advantage at halftime.

Early in the second half, High Point tied the game a third time when Gaeng scored at 27:13 to make the score 5-5. It remained tied until Dougherty's third goal gave the Panthers their first lead of the game at 20:24 that put HPU ahead, 6-5. The lead was short-lived as Fucigna notched her hat trick goal at 18:47 to tie the game a fourth time at 6-6. High Point's Perry then bounced a shot past Melby to give HPU the lead back at 7-6 at the 17:40 mark.

HPU went up by two when Meier connected on Kendyl Gardner's give-and-go pass to make the score 8-6. But Davidson countered with its own give-and-go when Alanna Parker put home a Cooke pass to cut the deficit to one with 13:53 remaining. Perry then increased the cushion to two goals with an unassisted score with 7:36 remaining. High Point used the last 3:35 to run out the clock, and staved off Davidson's last offensive attempt with a defensive stop in the final minute to preserve the win.

Meier finished with two goals for High Point, while Wallingford made four saves in net. Davidson was led by Fucigna's three goals and Cooke's two assists. Melby finished with 10 saves in the defeat. High Point defender Jasmine Jordan earned Tournament MVP honors and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by teammates Cissy Woodyard, Meier and Perry. The complete All-Tournament Team appears below.

High Point collected 20 ground balls, compared to Davidson's 17. The teams each had nine draw controls.

The Panthers will learn their postseason opponent on Sunday, May 5 when the NCAA announces the 26-team field.

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DAVIDSON, N.C. In the inaugural Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship title game, the Wildcats saw High Point break up a 6-all tie by scoring three of the final four goals in the final 17 minutes to win the tournament title 9-7 on a steady, rainy Sunday afternoon at Richardson Stadium.

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