“Practice has been going well, good tempo and better leadership on the field,” said head coach Jon Torpey. “The attack unit has been coming together really well. Our biggest question coming in to the season was the youth in the midfield and if they would be able to learn all the sets but they have come back ready to go and I have been very impressed.”
The Panthers began practice on Jan. 2 and will get a look at their first opponent on Saturday with a scrimmage against Catawba at 6 p.m. at Vert Stadium. HPU will also scrimmage Marquette on Jan. 25 in Charlotte, N.C. before the season opener at Delaware.
High Point returns 38 players, including nine starters, from a season ago. The Panthers also added 16 newcomers to the roster for 2014. Redshirt-seniors Bucky Smith and Garrett Swaim both returns as captains from last year. Junior Pat Farrell and sophomores Dan Lomas and Matt Thistle were also named captains this season. All three started for HPU in 2013.
“It is such a big advantage to come back and start practice as early as we do,” Thistle said. “We get in so many reps before our first scrimmages which helps bring our underclassmen up to speed. We are still a young team but having so many players back and having a bigger roster we are able to do so much more than we did last year. I feel a lot more comfortable this year and I am very excited heading in to the season.”
The Panthers will play in the first season of the Atlantic Sun, facing conference opponents Jacksonville, Mercer, Furman, Richmond and VMI. Furman and Richmond are both first year programs.
In case you are wondering, they are wearing Guardian Cap Helmets.