February 6, 2015
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team will welcome No. 3 Duke, the two-time defending national champions, to Vert Stadium on Saturday at noon.
Last Time Out:
HPU opened the NCAA lacrosse season in style with a 15-10 win over Delaware on Feb. 1 in Vert Stadium. The Panthers and the Blue Hens went back and forth in the first half, but three third-quarter goals by junior Dan Lomas helped spark a 4-1 period to help HPU take control on the contest.
Junior Matt Thistle posted a career high and tied the program record with seven points (5g, 2a) to lead the Purple & White’s offensive attack. Lomas also had five goals and added an assist en route to a six-point outing.
Sophomore Cole Carns gave the Panthers three players with a hat trick after scoring three goals. Sophomore Michael LeClair added a goal and two assists for the well-rounded HPU offense against the Blue Hens. Junior Brad James added a goal and redshirt-junior Tyler Cook tallied an assist.
Junior Jamie Piluso gave the Panthers control of the second half, winning 10-of-13 face-offs after halftime. The Ridgewood, N.J. native went 18-of-28 (64 percent) for the game and grabbed seven ground balls. Junior Adam Seal led the team with nine ground balls as HPU earned a +11 (30-19) margin in ground balls.
Redshirt-senior goalkeeper Austin Geisler racked up 13 saves while redshirt-junior Zack Price caused two turnovers and registered two ground balls.
The victory gave the Panthers their first 1-0 start in the program’s three-year history.
The Blue Devils will begin their title defense at High Point on Saturday. The team returns four starters from last season’s squad that ran through the 2014 NCAA Tournament and finished the year with a 17-3 record.
The midfield is the strength of Duke’s roster. Juniors Myles Jones and Deemer Class are back after earning All-American status in 2014. Class was second on the team last season with 65 points (38g, 27a) while Jones posted 63 points (37g, 26a). Junior Will Haus didn’t start in the midfield last year, but is the team’s top returner in ground balls (44) and also chipped in with 11 goals in 2014.
Slowing the midfielders will be key for the Panthers since the Blue Devils will be breaking in several new players on the attack. The squad must replace Jordan Wolf who finished fourth in the nation in scoring and fellow 2014 seniors Josh Dionne and Christian Walsh who scored a combined 104 points. Junior Case Matheis is the top returning attackman after registering 42 points (23g, 19a) last season.
The Blue Devils will have to replace their starting defensemen as well in 2015. However, the team does return junior Luke Aaron at goalkeeper. In leading the team to the national title, Aaron posted a .505 save percentage and allowed just 9.92 goals per game while earning a 15-3 record.
• Saturday is the first meeting ever between the Panthers and the Blue Devils.
• Dan Lomas, Matt Thistle and Michael LeClair combined to score 125 points last season. That makes them the nation’s fourth highest scoring returning trio.
• Dan Lomas has the third longest goal-scoring streak in the nation with one goal in each of his last 18 games.
• Matt Thistle led the A-Sun with 53 points after dishing out 36 assists and 17 goals in 2014. His 36 assists also led the A-Sun.
• Dan Lomas and Matt Thistle were joined by sophomore Cole Carns as the three Panthers to score a hat trick against Delaware.
• The Panthers boasted both Atlantic Sun players of the year last year as redshirt-senior Austin Geisler took A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year honors and junior Dan Lomas was awarded the A-Sun Offensive Player of the Year.
• Senior defenseman Pat Farrell and redshirt-senior goalkeeper Austin Geisler each heard their name called in the 2015 Major League Lacrosse Draft. The Florida Launch took Geisler with the fourth pick in the seventh round right after the Ohio Machine tabbed Farrell with the second pick in the seventh round The duo were the first two draft picks in HPU’s history.
The Purple & White has a quick turnaround and travels the Chapel Hill on Tuesday to take on No. 6 North Carolina at 4:00 p.m.
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