Liberty is now 9-4 overall and 2-1 in the Big South
Despite playing High Point evenly over the final 30 minutes, Liberty fell, 13-4, to the No. 19/25 Panthers, Saturday at Vert Stadium.
Liberty and High Point each scored three goals in the second half, but the Panthers' dominating 10-1 first frame proved to be the difference in the contest.
High Point is now 9-2 overall and 3-0 in the Big South, holding first place in the conference standings. Liberty slips to 9-4 on the year and 2-1 in the league. Saturday's four goals equaled a season low for the Lady Flames.
The Panthers' Erica Perrotta led all players with five points on the day, including three goals and two assists to go along with three draw controls. The Lady Flames' Michaela Rich scored twice in the contest, while Brianna McCaffrey and Abby Britton added the visitors' other goals. High Point's top distributor was Maggie Williams with three assists. Liberty's Kayla Foster had two assists.
HPU netminder Jill Rall (8-2) made eight saves against just four goals in picking up her eighth victory of the year. Liberty goalkeeper Aubrie Tarris (6-3) was saddled with only her third loss of the 2018 campaign, making five saves and surrendering 10 goals in 30 minutes of action.
High Point scored the first goal of the day (Ashley Britton) at the 26:43 mark of the opening half. Just over two and a half minutes later, Erin Ilchuk made it 2-0, Panthers, on a free-position tally.
McCaffrey of Liberty, the team leader in goals, countered with her 31st goal of the season, a beautiful backhanded flip shot into the cage on a feed from freshman Mia Toscano at the 20:48 mark. The junior from Florida's goal trimmed the HPU lead to 2-1.
The Panthers used an 8-0 run over the final 19:22 of the first half to gain a 10-1 advantage at the half. During that run, High Point's Perrotta scored three times, including her third goal of the day with 4:18 remaining in the half, which made it 10-1, Panthers.
HPU outshot Liberty, 18-6, in the first 30 minutes and completed 11-of-11 successful clears, compared to just 8-of-14 for the Lady Flames. Tarris and Rall both made five stops during the opening half.
Liberty struck first in the second stanza, 74 seconds in. Rich scored her first goal of the day, assisted by Foster, with 28:46 left to bring the score to 10-2 (High Point).
The Panthers scored three of the next four goals (Brooke Stevens, Allie Little and Rachel Foster) in a low-scoring second half that had only six goals scored. The Lady Flames' Abby Britton scored her seventh marker of the year (11:21 left), which cut the deficit to 11-3.
With the Panthers leading, 13-3, in the final 10 seconds, Rich sent a shot that hit off Rall and trickled across the line and into the goal. Rich's goal with eight seconds left, her 26th of her redshirt senior campaign, came on another assist from Foster, her team-leading 21st of the season.
High Point recorded 33 shots in the contest, compared to just 12 for Liberty. The teams were even in ground balls (18-18), while Liberty won the battle for draw controls, 11-8, paced by five from McCaffrey and four from Foster.
The Panthers generated 18 caused turnovers, led by six from Samantha Herman. The Lady Flames' McCaffrey paced Liberty with four caused turnovers, and the team totaled 15 of them.
High Point finished 18-for-19 on clear attempts, while Liberty was 17-for-26. High Point cashed in on 4-of-9 free-position shots, and Liberty was 0-for-1.
Liberty will be back on its home turf on Wednesday versus Longwood (6-7, 1-2 BSC). The contest between the Lady Flames and Lancers will commence at 4 p.m. at the Liberty Lacrosse Field.
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