Winthrop University

Winthrop lacrosse faces UVA Friday night in NCAA first round

Winthrop's No. 6 Shannon Gallagher looks for the shot as Winthrop defeats Liberty University for the Big South Conference title in women's lacrosse, 5-3-2015.
Winthrop's No. 6 Shannon Gallagher looks for the shot as Winthrop defeats Liberty University for the Big South Conference title in women's lacrosse, 5-3-2015. Special to The Herald

The Winthrop women’s lacrosse team will make its first-ever NCAA appearance Friday at 7 p.m., taking on the seventh-seeded Virginia Cavaliers at Klockner Stadium.

The Eagles, in only their third year of NCAA competition, won the Big South title last Sunday with a 13-8 victory over the Liberty Flames. Winthrop is the first team other than High Point to represent the Big South and is the first Division I women's team from South Carolina to make the tournament.

Winthrop enters the tournament on a three-game winning streak and with a 17-3 overall record. Virginia received an at-large big out of the ACC and sports an 11-6 record after falling to Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the ACC tournament on April 23, the team's last game. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Eagles and Cavaliers.

Big South attacking player of the year, Jenna Kasmarik continues to lead the NCAA with 77 goals this season and scored five in the Big South championship game. Big South tournament MVP Shannon Gallagher is second on the team with 53 goals. Freshman goalie Alaina Girani continues to impress with a .491 save percentage.

Seniors Liza Blue and Casey Bocklet lead the Cavaliers in scoring with 41 and 38 goals respectively. Fellow senior Courtney Swan leads the ACC with 32 assists and has also scored 29 goals. The Cavaliers start a freshman goalie in Rachel Vander Kolk who has a .428 save percentage while allowing 10.4 goals per game.

Winthrop has scored an average of 15.4 goals per game this year while Virginia scores 12.65 on average. The Eagles have allowed 7.5 goals per game with Virginia conceding 10.4.

The winner of Friday's contest will face the winner of Penn State and Johns Hopkins who will meet Friday at 4 p.m. The two winners will play Sunday at 4 p.m.

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