Campbell tops Winthrop 11-9 in Big South semis to advance to first title game

The Camels celebrate the program's first BSC semifinal victory (Courtesy of Todd Drexler)
The Camels celebrate the program's first BSC semifinal victory (Courtesy of Todd Drexler)

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HIGH POINT, N.C. --- Campbell will play for its first Big South women's lacrosse championship on Sunday after defeating Winthrop 11-9 in the tournament's semifinal round Friday night. Kayla Reilly led all players will five points on two goals and a game-high three assists.

Campbell (10-7) clinched its second-straight 10-win season with the program's first semifinal victory. The second-seeded Camels will face top-seeded High Point on its home field at Vert Stadium in Sunday's championship game at noon. The Panthers defeated fourth-seeded Liberty 20-9 in Friday's first semifinal matchup.

Freshman goalkeeper Alex Salim earned the win in the cage with a season-high 11 saves in her first career intercollegiate start. Mackenzie Koeller led eight Camel goal scorers with two goals and assisted on a pair of scores. Melissa Placek also added a goal and an assist.

After Campbell held an 8-3 halftime advantage, the Eagles (9-10) scored five of the first six second-half goals to cut the deficit to 9-8 with 9:18 left to play. Sami Smit had the answer for CU when she corralled a pass from Placek and scored a crucial goal with 5:55 on the clock to put the Camels ahead 10-8.

Less than a minute later, Reilly pulled a pass from Koeller out of the air in front of the goal and slammed it in the back of the cage to give Campbell an 11-8 advantage with 5:03 left to play. A goal from Winthrop's Nicole Beatson cut the deficit to 11-9 with 4:11 showing on the clock.

Salim made a crucial stop shortly after the ensuing draw before saving a shot from Beatson with 1:15 left to go. The Eagles picked up the groundball, and seconds later Salim saved a free-position attempt and the Camels took over possession. Campbell was then able to run out the clock to claim the two-goal victory.

Katie Clark and Katherine Judge each scored three goals apiece for the Eagles, while Ellie Marindin found the back of the cage twice. Chloe Wormsley took the loss in goal with five saves.

After Winthrop opened the scoring five minutes into the contest, Campbell responded with five-straight goals to lead 5-1 with 13:09 left in the first half. The Eagles broke the Camels' scoring streak three minutes later, but CU responded with three unanswered goals to take its largest lead of the game at 8-2. WU added a late first half goal to cut the deficit to 8-3 at the break.

Sunday's championship game will be broadcast on ESPN3 and the winner will receive the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.