#11 Loyola Handles High Point to Advance in NCAA Tournament

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - No. 11 Loyola used a strong first half and balanced scoring in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament to earn an 18-7 win over High Point at North Carolina's Fetzer Field Friday night. With the win, the Greyhounds (11-8) advance to the second round to face No. 3 seed North Carolina on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

Sophomore Annie Thomas led 10 Greyhounds in scoring with six points on two goals and a game-high four assists, while senior Joanna Dalton and sophomore Hannah Schmitt netted three goals each. Sophomores Molly Hulseman and Taryn VanThof, in addition to freshman Katrina Geiger, all tacked on two goals, while juniors Ali Habicht and Marlee Paton, sophomore Sydney Thomas and freshman Maddy Blakeman all contributed one goal.

Leah Pace and Alec Perry led High Point (10-9) with three goals, while Christie Dougherty had the other goal.

Paton won the game's opening draw control and the Greyhounds never looked back. Annie Thomas assisted Paton for the game's first goal at 28:28, before goals from Dalton, Annie Thomas and Schmitt gave the Greyhounds a 4-0 advantage at the 22:21 mark. Dalton then notched her second goal at 16:32 and a score from VanThof 24 seconds later gave Loyola a 6-0 lead.

Defensively, freshman Molly Wolf turned back the Panthers' first four shots, but Dougherty was able to break through at the 7:52 mark, getting High Point its first goal in an NCAA Tournament game. That's all the Greyhounds' defense would allow in the first 30 minutes though, as Loyola scattered goals from Sydney Thomas, Hulseman and two from Hannah Schmitt throughout the rest of the half, giving the Greyhounds a 10-1 halftime advantage.

Dalton notched her ninth career hat trick at the beginning of the second half, scoring at 27:47, but High Point had an answer, scoring at 24:31.

A pair of free-position goals from Annie Thomas and Geiger extended Loyola's lead to 13-2 with 20 minutes to play, but the Panthers halted any run with a third goal at 19:03.

Habicht won the ensuing draw control and assisted Geiger, but the Panthers were again there for another score at 16:10.

Paton assisted Loyola's next two goals, the first to Habicht and the second to Blakeman marking her first collegiate goal, to push the Greyhounds back ahead 16-4, but the Panthers recorded their only back-to-back scores on the day by the seven-minute mark to move the score to 16-6.

VanThof netted her second score with 4:20 to play before High Point's final goal was scored at 3:07. Hulseman closed out the scoring as the buzzer went off, assisted by Annie Thomas, bringing the final score to 18-7.

Defensively, Wolf finished the day with seven saves, while nine Greyhounds caused a turnover.

VanThof had four ground balls, four draw controls and two caused turnovers for Loyola, while junior Katherine Reinhard, Paton and Sydney Thomas each had three ground balls.

* * * *

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -- High Point University 's historic season came to an end with an 18-7 loss to No. 11 Loyola in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Fetzer Field on the UNC campus in Chapel Hill, N.C. Freshman Leah Pace and junior Alec Perry both notched hat tricks for the Panthers.

It's just the third season of varsity women's lacrosse for High Point, which finished the season 10-9 overall. Loyola improved to 11-8 and will face No. 3 North Carolina in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday at Fetzer Field.

"It was a big step for our program to get to this stage," said HPU head coach Lyndsey Boswell. "We reached a major goal for our program in getting to the NCAA Tournament. Unfortunately we didn't come out with the energy we needed to today and a great program like Loyola is going to capitalize on that. Their players have been to NCAA Tournaments before, they know what it's like to be out here. We're hoping to use this opportunity to gain that type of experience."

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