SUNDAY, MAY 01, 2011
Women’s lacrosse falls to High Point in overtime of NLC championship game
High Point’s Christie Dougherty scored the only goal in overtime for either team as the JU women’s lacrosse team fell to the Panthers, 13-12, in a dramatic National Lacrosse Conference championship game on Sunday at Richardson Stadium in Davidson, N.C.

Morgan Derner scored four goals for the top-seeded Dolphins and Ali Hoffman and Jen Cosgrove also tallied a pair. But it wasn’t enough as JU lost against a conference opponent for the first time this season, snapping a 10-game winning streak to finish the season with a program-best record of 14-5.

Dougherty’s goal clinched the first NLC title for second-seeded High Point, giving the Panthers the crown in its first year of existence. The middie raced in and fired a low shot past just past Karli Tobin’s stick-save attempt with 2.6 seconds left in the first-part of the overtime period, which proved to be the difference in the game as High Point concluded its season at 15-3.

JU had numerous chances to claim its first title, out-shooting the Panthers, 4-1 in overtime and 16-10 in the second half. High Point’s Lauren Hayes proved up to the challenge, making 14 saves, including three in overtime.

Dougherty finished with a hat trick and Sara Kuhlman scored three of her team-leading four goals in the first half for High Point. Hayes made two of her most important saves in the extra session, stopping a blistering Kaitlin Stewart shot off a spin move with 1:13 left.

High Point then committed a turnover in its own end, setting up the Dolphins for its best chance to get the equalizer. Stewart drew a free position attempt with 41.5 seconds left, getting another chance. Hayes was again up to the challenging, making a save with the handle of the stick before the ball nestled in the pocket to keep High Point up by a goal.

In all, JU was unsuccessful on the last five FPS attempts stretching from the final minute of regulation and overtime.

Amanda Hurley nearly gave the Dolphins a dramatic victory off a free position shot with time expiring in regulation. Hurley’s right-wing blast beat goalie Lauren Hayes right as the clock expired, but after a nearly five minute delay, the officials ruled the ball did not cross the line before time ran out, sending the game into overtime.

The Dolphins drew three free position shots in the final 15 seconds on regulation, culminating in Hurley’s final attempt with one second on the clock. The officials’ ruling sent the game into the six-minute extra session, marking JU’s first overtime game of the season.

Hoffman’s solid work in the offensive end allowed JU the chance to win it. The freshman attacker drew a free-position attempt and beat Hayes on the right-side for tying goal with 1:24 left in regulation, prompting High Point to call time out.

JU won the subsequent draw control, drawing a yellow card on Panthers leading scorer Grace Gaeng with 1:14 left. After Stewart saved a turnover near the sideline, the Dolphins worked it to Hurley, who facilitated another FPS attempt with 14.1 seconds left. But her potential-game winning goal went wide right. The Dolphins retained possession and Derner drew the second FPS attempt of the sequence with 6.8 seconds. Her shot also went wide.

Sophomore Karli Tobin made nine saves total for the Dolphins.

Nursing a two-goal lead out of halftime, Derner scored 1:22 into the second half, pushing a right-post shot past Hayes for a three-goal JU lead.

High Point responded with four straight goals, taking a lead for the first time in the contest. Gaeng, who came in with 52 goals, shrugged off a scoreless first half to record her first marker and Heather Ziccarelli galvanized the High Point crowd with a breakaway goal to tie the contest at 9 with 24:36 remaining, representing the first time the Panthers did not trail all game. Dougherty’s strike put the Panthers ahead for the first time all game.

Hoffman responded with the equalizer off Stewart’s pass with 20:44 left in regulation. Derner appeared to score the go-ahead goal. But the officials waved it off and the FPS attempt was unsuccessful, keeping the game knotted until Alec Perry scored off a spin move for an 11-10 High Point edge at 11:40.

Cosgrove tied the game at 11, creating her own shot with a defender in front for a high left-side strike. Goldman responded with another head-on goal, putting the Panthers ahead, 12-11 at 8:29.

Derner tallied her 11th hat trick of the season and third in three days. The attacker now has 37 goals in her last nine games played and has a team-leading 53 goals overall.

Derner, who already was the first 40-goal scorer in Dolphins history, cracked the 50-goal mark with her opening scoring strike off a free-position shot 1:27 into the contest. That marked the third straight tournament game in which Derner scored the first goal. The fast score kick-started a tension-filled first half that saw High Point and JU battle for almost every possession. But the Dolphins utilized its free-position chances, going 4-for-6 in the opening 30 minutes to account for half of the goal total as JU took an 8-6 lead into the break.

Derner and Kuhlman each scored three goals in the opening half to pace their teams’ respective offense. Kuhlman put High Point within a single goal on three separate occasions, with JU responding each time to establish a two-goal lead, culminating with Derner’s close-range goal off Erdely’s feed with three seconds left.

Before the game, the Dolphins warmed up wearing t-shirts in support of JU men’s lacrosse captain Corey Lovrich, who is battling stage 3 colon cancer.

- By Brian Bohl