Camels set to take on Eagles in Big South semis Friday night

(Scarboroughphtography.com)
(Scarboroughphtography.com)

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BUIES CREEK, N.C. --- Second-seeded Campbell will open play in the 2017 Big South Women's Lacrosse Championship in the semifinal round on Friday at 7 p.m. versus third-seeded Winthrop. Top-seeded High Point is hosting the tournament's semifinals and finals on its home field at Vert Stadium.

The Panthers will host fourth-seeded Liberty in Friday's first semifinal at 4 p.m. Both of Friday's games will be broadcast on the Big South Network with Sunday's championship final, set for noon, will be broadcast on ESPN3. 

Fans can also follow all the action with live stats available through gocamels.com. Live in-game updates will also be posted on the Camels' Twitter page, @GoCamelsWLAX.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

LAST TIME OUT: Campbell (9-7) closed out the regular season with an 11-9 victory at Radford. Kayla Reilly led the way with seven points on two goals and a career-high five assists. After falling in a 3-0 hole, the Camels reeled off six-straight goals and recorded two late goals to seal the win after holding a narrow 9-8 advantage.

ALL-BIG SOUTH HONORS: A program-record six Camels picked up All-Big South honors headlined by first team selections Kayla Reilly, Melissa Placek and Merredith Bechler. Mackenzie Koeller was named the Scholar-Athlete of the year and was a honorable mention selection. Megan Reilly and Erin O'Hara landed on the second team. O'Hara became the first Camel to earn four-straight all-conference selections.

WHAT'S AT STAKE: The winner of Friday's contest will advance to Sunday's Big South Championship game versus the winner of the No. 4 Liberty and No. 1 High Point semifinal. CU is looking for its first appearance in the league's championship game.

LAST TIME VS. THE EAGLES: Campbell earned a wild 17-16 win over Winthrop in its conference opener last month. Bechler saved the Eagles' attempt at the game-tying goal in the final seconds to preserve the victory. The Camels jumped out to a 7-0 lead but had to rally from a three-goal second-half deficit. Placek scored the game-winning goal with eight minutes to go, the last of five second-half goals, to give the Camels their first ever win over Winthrop.

SETTING RECORDS: The Camels' 6-1 Big South record is the best in program history and their second place finish led to the program's first Big South Championship quarterfinal bye. Overall, CU matched its highest regular season win total from last season but finished with the highest winning percentage in program history (.563).

ON THE OFFENSE: Campbell features a balanced attack from a variety of scoring options. 12 different players have found the back of the cage for the Camels this season in an offense that is averaging 12.06 goals per game. That's currently the fourth-highest tally in the Big South while their 28.06 shots per game stands second.

LEADING THE WAY: Kayla Reilly and Placek are the leaders of the Camel offense. Reilly has cumulated a team-high 64 points on 26 goals and 38 assists. She is averaging a league-high 2.38 assists per game, which also stands 12th nationally. Placek has a team-high 42 goals and 11 assists to go with a team-high 83 draw controls. That's an average of 5.19 draws per contests, which ranks fourth in the BSC and 23rd nationally.

A LITTLE DEFENSIVE: Campbell's scoring defense stands third in the league, as opponents are averaging 12.67 goals per game. The Camels feature a veteran defensive unit headlined by All-Big South selection Erin O'Hara and fifth-year senior April Reinhart. All-Big South honoree Megan Reilly has also started every game.

BETWEEN THE PIPES: All-Big South first team goalkeeper Merredith Bechler has started 15 games in goal, but all three Camel goalkeepers have seen time in the cage this season. Bechler owns a 0.394 save percentage, which ranks third in the Big South. Her 7.27 saves per game and 12.31 goals against average also stands third in the league. Alex Salim has appeared in four games and has 10 saves while Kylie Haarhoff also has four appearances and earned the win over La Salle.

EARLY IMPACT: Numerous members of the Camels' freshman class have already made significant impacts early in their careers. Tina Ricci ranks fourth on the team in points with 38 on 23 goals and 15 assists. Sam Carey has started every contest and ranks second on the team in draw controls with 59.

CONTROLLING THE DRAW: Campbell is averaging 14.88 draw controls per contest. That tally leads the Big South and ranks 12th nationally.

LIMITING MISCUES: CU is averaging the fewest turnovers in the league with just 15.81 miscues per game, which stands 27th nationally.

HEAD COACH DAWN EASLEY: Campbell head coach Dawn Easley is in her fourth season in Buies Creek and has led the Camels to their two most successful seasons in program history. She coached CU in its first postseason victory to advance to its first Big South semifinals last season. Easley has mentored 18 All-Big South honorees in three years at Campbell.

ALL-TIME SERIES: Winthrop still leads the all-time series against Campbell 4-1 despite the Camels' victory in the regular season. Friday will be the first meeting between the two sides in postseason play. Overall, the Eagles lead the goal count 84-50 between the five matchups.

SCOUTING THE EAGLES: Winthrop (9-9) has won six-straight games including a 20-10 quarterfinal victory over No. 6 Radford this past Sunday. The Eagles' scoring offense (13.33 goals per game) and defense (12.06 goals per game) both rank second in the league and their 0.555 free position percentage ranks second nationally. Three Eagles earned All-BSC first team honors including Nicole Beatson, who leads the league in goals (56) and points (88).