High Point made history Friday night by beating Towson 21-15 in the opening round of the NCAA women’s lacrosse tournament in College Park Maryland. By doing so, the Panthers scored the first NCAA tournament victory in any sport in school history. The 36 combined goals were also a record, surpassing the 33 scored by Syracuse and North Carolina in 2012 as the most ever in an NCAA tournament game. Junior Darla Poulin tied her career high with six goals while sophomore Emory Gaeng netted a personal-best five to lead the Big South Conference champions to their school-record 16th straight wins. With the victory, High Point advances into a second round matchup Sunday against top-seeded Maryland, which comes into the game with a 19-game winning streak. The Panthers (16-3) got off to a slow start against Towson, falling behind 5-3 after the opening 17½ minutes. But they answered right back by scoring the next 10 goals to take control of the game and pull away. The news wasn’t as good for the other state school playing in the women’s tournament Friday. Elon, making its first NCAA appearance in only its fourth year of competition in the sport, surrendered the game’s first four goals and never recovered in suffering an 11-9 loss to Virginia in Chapel Hill. The Phoenix (14-6) actually outscored the Cavaliers for the rest of the game, but it never got closer than the final three-goal margin. Seven of Elon’s nine goals in the game were scored by players coming off the bench, led by a hat trick from Jacie Cooper and two scores each by Shelby Scanlin and Melissa Birdsell. Virginia’s victory sets up a second-round showdown with ACC rival and defending national champion North Carolina at Fetzer Field on Sunday. The NCAA men’s lacrosse tournament begins with opening round games Saturday.
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