No. 4 seed Liberty could not overcome an early 9-0 deficit, falling, 20-9, to No. 1 seed High Point in the Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship semifinals, Friday at Vert Stadium.
Flames finish the season with a 6-13 record, while the Panthers improve
to 14-3 overall with their 14th consecutive win. High Point will move on
to Sunday's championship game at noon, where the Panthers will face the
winner of this evening's contest between No. 2 Campbell (9-7) and No. 3
Brianna McCaffrey netted four goals for Liberty.
Point seized control from the opening whistle, racing out to a 9-0 lead
in the game's first 9:02. Brown found Poulin for her first two tallies
just 22 seconds apart, with the second goal giving the Panthers a 2-0
edge with 27:05 to play in the opening stanza.
Liberty timeout, goals from the Panthers' Erica Perrotta and two tallies
from Brooke Stevens extended the home lead to 5-0. Brown scored her
49th and 50th markers of the year to push the High Point lead to 7-0
with 22:02 remaining in the half. Ashley Britton and Emory Gaeng's first
goals of the day staked the Panthers to a 9-0 advantage with 20:58 left
on the first-half clock.
Liberty's first goal of the contest
came from McCaffrey, her 37th of the year. McCaffrey created her own
fastbreak opportunity and fired a low bouncing shot past Panthers
goalkeeper Jill Rall and into the net to trim the deficit to 9-1 at the
Following Ashley Britton's second goal of the match, her sister Paige Britton,
a Lady Flames midfielder, scored from the left side of the eight-meter
arc, her 23rd of the year. The goal brought Liberty to within eight,
10-2, with 14:21 on the clock.
However, the Panthers closed
the opening frame on a 5-2 run, fueled by Brown's third and fourth goals
of the game. McCaffrey scored the Lady Flames' final two markers of the
opening half, including her third of the contest with 37.1 seconds
left. Liberty trailed, 15-4, at intermission after being outshot, 26-4.
played High Point to an even 5-5 score in the second half while holding
a 7-5 edge in draw controls and tying the Panthers in shots, 12-12.
After Perrotta gave High Point a 12-goal lead (16-4) just 70 seconds into the second frame, McCaffrey and fellow sophomore Kayla Foster
brought the score to 16-6 with a pair of goals. McCaffrey's marker was
her 40th of the season, tied for the third-most goals in a single season
in Liberty lacrosse history. Foster's 32nd tally of 2017 came with
25:38 remaining and brought her point total for the year to 65, the
third most in a season in school history.
High Point's final
four goals of the contest came from Poulin (2), Brown (1) and Allie
Little (1). The Lady Flames' final three tallies came from the sticks of
freshman Grace Fletcher and senior Courtney Brown. Fletcher scored a free-position goal with 17:51 left to make it 17-7.
Brown's pair of goals came in the final six minutes of play. She scored the first on a feed from Kaitlyn Cassidy-Fischetti
with 5:46 left, and her second of the match (18th of the season) came
on a pass from Foster with 2:23 remaining to settle the final score at
Liberty goalkeeper Katherine Widrick (5-8) made six saves in the first half while yielding 15 goals in the defeat. Aubrie Tarris
played the second half in net for the Lady Flames, surrendering five
goals while making four stops. Rall (13-0) was credited with the
victory. The High Point freshman made four saves against nine goals.
Point held advantages in shots (38-16) and ground balls (26-19) while
committing fewer turnovers (19) than Liberty (31). The visiting Lady
Flames won 16 draw controls, compared to 15 for the Panthers. Foster won
a game-high nine draw controls for Liberty, while Widrick and
Panthers midfielder Samantha Herman led their respective squads with
four ground balls apiece.