The top-seeded Winthrop Eagles erased a six-goal deficit Friday afternoon to stun the fourth-seeded High Point Panthers 11-10 and advance to the first women’s lacrosse conference championship game in program history.
Winthrop will next play the second-seeded Liberty Flames on Sunday at 1 p.m. for the Big South title. Liberty defeated Coastal Carolina 14-8 in the second semifinal.
The Eagles trailed 6-0 with 12:50 left in the first half and 9-6 at the break. Winthrop outscored High Point 5-1 in the second half for the victory. It was the first time in program history that the Eagles came back to win a game after trailing at the half.
Trailing by three, the Eagles started pulling the momentum back early in the second half, scoring twice in the first 4:05. Allie Yeager netted her first with 27:05 on the clock and junior Logan McCarthy grabbed her third of the game with 25:55 left, pulling the Eagles within 9-8.
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High Point scored its only goal of the half, a controversial one, with 20:32 on the clock to go up 10-8. After Winthrop turned the ball over in the midfield, the Panthers bench requested a timeout, however, by the time it was granted, the ball was in the back of the net. After an official conference, they awarded the goal.
It didn’t take Winthrop long to get back within one as junior Shannon Gallagher brought Winthrop back to 10-9 with 19:03 remaining. High Point then tried to burn as much clock as possible.
Winthrop wasn’t able to tie the game at 10-10 until 2:09 left in the contest. Freshman Katie Clark pulled the Eagles even on a free-position shot. Following the goal, Winthrop coach John Sung called for a stick check on a High Point player. The officials checked the stick in question and found it to be illegal which gave the Eagles the ball.
With the ball, under two minutes to go, the Eagles worked the clock, trying to find the right shot. Winthrop got the ball to Gallagher who earned a free-position attempt with 53 seconds to play which she buried in the back of the net. The Eagles won the ensuing draw and were able to run off the final seconds for the victory.
The victory for Winthrop was the first over High Point in five tries in the program’s three year history. It was the first loss for High Point in any Big South Tournament and means that the conference will crown a first-time champion on Sunday.
Winthrop redshirt sophomore Leah Young was named College Sports Madness Big South Player of the Week.
Young batted .467 with six runs and six RBIs last week to help the Eagles to a 5-0 mark and finish the regular season on a six-game winning streak. In addition, Young was 2-for-2 on the bases, had a slugging percentage of .667 and an on-base percentage of .556.
The week began with a two-run, two out double to center in the bottom of the seventh against Presbyterian College that pulled the Eagles within a run as they eventually run after a six-run inning.
On Wednesday, Young went 2-for-3 with three RBIs as her two-run single in the first were all the runs the team needed in an 8-1 win over Gardner-Webb. It was the third straight game Young drove in multiple runs. In the opening game against Liberty she hit her league-leading fifth triple of the season and eventually scored for a 5-3 lead as the Eagles went on to win 6-3. On the week she batted .571 (4-for-7) with runners in scoring position and five of her runs batted in came with two outs.