Winthrop women’s lacrosse peeled away from Coastal Carolina in the second half to win the two teams’ Big South Conference tournament quarterfinal matchup Wednesday in Rock Hill, 14-8.
The win was Winthrop’s fourth in a row, a school record, and the program’s first postseason victory in its two-year existence.
“It’s pretty cool to watch; you build from such an infant stage to now,” said Winthrop head coach John Sung. “We’re only moving up, which is great.”
Sung’s team got 11 of its 14 goals from the trio of Jenna Kasmarik, Hayley Krause and Shannon Gallagher. Winthrop took advantage of four Coastal Carolina yellow cards in the first half, scoring each time they had the man-up advantage.
“They were really focused in and didn’t let that physical play bother them, which I think was great,” said Sung. “They were really composed. We’ve had a harder schedule this year and I think it’s starting to pay off, because the kids have been in those situations, they’ve played against physical teams.”
Kasmarik, Krause and Gallagher each scored in a 6-1 spurt spanning halftime that put the Eagles (8-10) in full control of the game. After Maggie Carr tallied to cut the Winthrop lead to 6-5 with 8 minutes, 33 seconds left in the first half, Krause and Gallagher scored unassisted goals to send the host Eagles into the intermission with an 8-5 lead.
Kasmarik then scored her own unassisted goal over 4 minutes into the second half, muscling past her defender in an isolation play. After Wednesday’s game, the transfer from Johns Hopkins now has 65 goals on the season, a top-five mark in the country.
“Jenna is a machine,” said Sung. “She’s learning to play in our system. What a fun player to watch.”
Senior Mary Accomando then came in off the bench to flash some skill when she quick-sticked Maddi Genovese’s pass into the back of the net from close range to make it 10-5. Coastal got one back about a minute later, but Gallagher and Kasmarik each tacked on another goal to make it 12-6.
Winthrop’s defense held the Chanticleers to just three goals in the second half, ensuring the visitors never got closer than 12-8. Goalie Camille King had a solid day between the pipes, making seven saves.
“Camille has been kind of up and down, but she’s one of those kids that throughout her whole career has been clutch,” said Sung. “When the big game is on, you know that day she’s gonna come and be focused.”
Winthrop’s reward for topping the rival Chanticleers is a semifinal meeting with High Point on Friday, in High Point. The Panthers, the Big South’s No. 1 seed, beat the Eagles 18-7 in the two teams’ regular season clash.
“We’re looking forward to that rematch,” said Sung. “That first match I don’t think showed how good we could play. It’s all about peaking at the right time and I think we’ve done that.”
Bret McCormick • 803-329-4032; Twitter: @BretJust1T