LAGRANGE, Ga. -- The top-seeded Meredith College Avenging Angels captured the program's fourth consecutive USA South Women's Lacrosse Tournament Championship with an 18-7 victory over the third-seeded Piedmont Lions. Midfielder Holly Hite earned the Most Valuable Player award with her performance across the two-day event.
Molly Miller set a new USA South all-time season record of 55 with today's four assists, and Hite collected her 101st draw control on the season.
The Lions managed to contain Meredith's top-five nationally ranked offense and take the lead three times through the 12th minute of the match.
At 13:50 Jennifer Halvorson netted a free position attempt, and Julie Capretti followed with an unassisted goal two minutes later. A pair of caused turnovers from Sarah Arbes led to two goals from Carlee Joseph, and the Avenging Angels were well on their way to a 9-4 first half advantage over the Lions. Jennifer Halvorson assisted Maria Codispoti, then netted one of her own to close out the period.
The second stanza opened with a series of defensive plays on both ends, including two of Cameron Ruffin's three caused turnovers. Ruffin dished off the resulting groundball on the second to Hite, who found Joseph in the crease to end the scoring drought at 25:35.
Piedmont controlled the next draw, and Caitlin O'Brien scored the Lions fifth goal. Joseph stifled the next Piedmont draw control and earned a free position attempt on the other end. Instead of taking the shot, Joseph passed to Miller who dished it right back for a quick ringer from Joseph.
Meredith scored five of the next six goals to initiate the running clock with six minutes left in the match. PC scored once more with Arbes in the penalty box, but the Avenging Angels finished off their opponent with unassisted goals from Julie-Anne Pretty and Halvorson to clinch the title.
Rookie goalie Haley Whitfield earned her 14th win for the Angels with four saves in her 54:20 played, and freshman Sydney Hardee finished out the championship with one stop in her 10th appearance. Blake Forrest recorded nine saves for Piedmont.
The recipient of the USA South's automatic qualifier, Meredith must now await the NCAA Division III selection committee's decision on first round tournament pairings and site selections. Round one action is slated for Saturday, May 13 (or Friday for those schools with a Sunday no-play policy).
2017 USA South Women's Lacrosse All-Tournament Team
Holly Hite (MC) - MVP
Cassidy Heflin (PC)
Caitlin O'Brien (PC)
Madison Ronelli (MU)
Jenna Smith (PC)
Blake Forrest (PC)