LAGRANGE, Ga. -- The top-seed Meredith College lacrosse Angels cruised past the fourth-seed Greensboro Pride 19-5 in the first of Friday's USA South Tournament Semifinal pairing. The Avenging Angels controlled the ball throughout the 60 minutes of play with 21 draw controls to just 4 from Greensboro and 39 shots to just 9 from the Pride.
In the second semifinal pairing the third-seed Piedmont Lions outlasted second-seed Methodist 15-12 to advance. Meredith and Piedmont will meet in Saturday's 3 p.m. Conference Championship for the fourth consecutive time and each with the Angels victorious. The match will take place at Callaway Stadium in LaGrange, Georgia.
Meredith's Carlee Joseph won this morning's opening draw and finished off a pass from Julia Capretti to put the Angels on the board within the first minute of play. Holly Hite notched back-to-back goals with assists from Molly Miller and Capretti to quickly extend that lead to three forcing an early Pride timeout at 27:43.
The interruption helped as Greensboro's Peyton Joyce answered with a point in the 25th minute. Hite won the next draw but a save from Kianna Anderson sent the ball in the opposite direction. Jennifer Halvorson forced a GC turnover, and Sarah Arbes followed with another steal after a Meredith miscue. Hite scored her third match goal with an assist from Alyssa Codispoti to return the Angels to a three-point advantage.
MCLax continued to attack as Hite scored two more quick goals with the Angels a man down. Halvorson added two more in a 9-0 Meredith run to put the Avenging Angels up by 11 with less than 12 minutes remaining in the period.
A Meredith penalty followed by a series of fouls gave the Pride an opening at the cage by Mackenzie Flemmons, but Joseph returned the ball to her team with the next draw. Julie-Anne Pretty scored on a free-position attempt, and Halvorson found Joseph in the middle to advance the Angels lead to 14-2 at the half.
Arbes collected the first draw of the second frame and drove straight in for a quick Meredith goal to open the second period.
Arbes, Joseph, and Hite recorded a caused turnover apiece during the next 12 minutes, but neither team would find the net. Greensboro's Peyton Joyce finally ended the drought, and Laine Walston added another to set the score at 16-4.
The Angels responded with a pair of quick unassisted goals from Arbes and Halvorson, and Pretty found an opening once more with less than six minutes remaining in regulation for a 19-3 advantage. A yellow card at the draw allowed Maria Codispoti a shot at the net, but Anderson picked off the attempt.
Natalie Purcell slipped around the cage to intercept Anderson's toss to return the ball to the Angels. But a Meredith miscue sent the ball back down field for the final point of the match by the Pride's Devan Marcheras.
Haley Whitfield recorded one stop in her 13th win for the Angels, and Sydney Hardee entered after the break to record her 21st career save. Anderson recorded the loss for the Pride with 15 stops, adding a pair of ground balls.
Hite led the Angels with a match-high five goals, six draw controls, adding a pair of caused turnovers. Joseph and Halvorson notched three goals apiece with Joseph recording four draw controls, two ground balls, and one caused turnover. Halvorson finished with five total points, adding a pair of assists, and Capretti finished with three assists and two goals. Jordan King led Meredith with a match-high four ground balls, adding one assist, and Arbes tallied five draw controls, three caused turnovers with a pair of goals. Cameron Ruffin picked up a pair of ground balls with two draw controls, one caused turnover.
Natalie Ritchey recorded three draw controls, one ground ball for the Pride, and Joyce posted a team-high two goals.