• Junior Matt Thistle posted seven points with five goals and two assists.
• Junior Dan Lomas tallied five goals and an assist after scoring four goals in a seven-minute span.
• HPU returns to Vert Stadium to host No. 3 Duke on Feb. 7 at noon
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team earned a 15-10 season-opening win over Delaware behind 13 points from juniors Matt Thistle and Dan Lomas on Sunday at Vert Stadium.
The Panthers (1-0) and the Blue Hens (0-1) went back and forth throughout first half, but HPU won the third quarter 4-1 to pull away for the win. The Purple & White outscored the Blue Hens 8-3 in the second half.
With the victory, HPU is off to its first 1-0 start in the program’s three-year history.
“We played 28 guys in the game today and that speaks to the depth of our team,” head coach Jon Torpey said of his team’s ability to pull away in the second half. “At the end of the game the amount of guys that we played really helped us out.”
Thistle led the Panthers with five goals and two assists while junior Dan Lomas also posted five goals to go with one assist. Lomas keyed the deciding run with three goals in the pivotal third quarter and four goals in a seven minutes span.
“We got key efforts from guys that don’t really show up on the stat sheet and that’s something we take pride in,” Torpey said. “I thought the Faceoff-X was great, our wings played well and it was an excellent collective group effort.”
Junior Jamie Piluso helped the Purple & White control possession by winning 18-of-28 attempts (64 percent) in the faceoff circle. Junior Adam Seal led the way with nine ground balls while Piluso picked up seven as HPU earned a +11 (30-19) margin in ground balls.
Sophomore Cole Carns provided a third hat trick for the Panthers as the Chesterfield, Va., native posted three goals. Sophomore Michael LeClair chipped in with one goal and two assists. Redshirt-junior Brad James had a goal while junior Tyler Cook posted an assist.
Redshirt-senior Austin Geisler registered 13 saves including six in the fourth quarter to help maintain the lead. Defensively, junior Zack Price caused two turnovers and collected two ground balls.
The Purple & White didn’t waste any time getting on the board as Piluso won the opening faceoff. Carns took it from there, beating Delaware goalkeeper Connor Peaks for a goal at the 14:17 mark to make it 1-0.
HPU continued its fast start as Thistle scored an unassisted goal to make it 2-0 with 2:07 into the game. However, the Panthers’ offense slowed and the Blue Hens scored three goals in a four-minute stretch to take a 3-2 lead (3:27). But Carns answered with his second goal of the day to even the score at 3-3 with 2:33 left in the first quarter.
Delaware moved back ahead with a goal in the early moments of the second quarter. Thistle answered with a diving goal from the right side to even the score at 4-4 (12:49). The Panthers moved ahead on a goal by Brad James with 10:13 left in the half. But, the lead didn’t last long as Will Hirschmann evened the score with a man-up goal (5-5, 8:44).
Lomas got on the board with a long-distance goal from the left wing before Delaware answered back 26 seconds later to knot the score at 6-6 with three minutes to go until halftime. The back and forth action continued as Hirschmann put the Blue Hens up 7-6 with 2:10 left. But Lomas found LeClair for a goal on the left wing to tie the game at 7-7 just 14 seconds later.
The Thistle to Lomas combo took center stage early in the second half as the duo hooked up for two goals to give the Panthers a 9-7 advantage. (12:40). Lomas kept it going with a goal on an assist from LeClair to make it 10-7 with 11:29 left in the quarter.
Thistle extended the HPU lead to 11-7 with another spectacular diving goal with nine minutes left in the third. The Blue Hens moved within three goals as Beau Jones scored with a nifty between the legs shot to make it 11-8 with 6:49 on the third-quarter clock.
Lomas added a man-up goal at the 14:26 mark in the fourth quarter to give HPU a 12-8 lead. Delaware wouldn’t go away and a goal by Paul Major cut it to 12-9 with 11:22 to play.
But a third goal by Carns and Thistle’s fourth and fifth goals of the game gave the Panthers a 15-9 lead late in the fourth as they cruised to victory.
High Point will be back in action on Saturday when it hosts the defending national champion and preseason No. 3 Duke Blue Devils at noon in Vert Stadium.