HPU MLAX Travels For Showdown With No. 6 UNC

Posted by Press Release on February 9, 2015 at 6:20 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team will travel to take on No. 6 North Carolina on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

It is the second consecutive game for the Panthers (1-1) against a ranked opponent after falling to No. 3 Duke 16-13 on Saturday. The Tar Heels (1-0) started their season on Saturday with a 19-4 win over Furman.

Last Time Out:
High Point battled it out with No. 3 Duke on Saturday, but fell 16-13 to the two-time defending national champions.

The Panthers fell behind by four goals in the first half, but erased the deficit to enter the half tied 7-7. The Blue Devils went on a 5-0 run to build a 12-7 lead midway through the third quarter. HPU, again, battled back to tie the score at 13-13 with nine minutes left. However, the Purple & White couldn’t complete the comeback as Duke scored the final three goals of the game to earn the win.

Redshirt-senior goalkeeper Austin Geisler kept the Panthers within striking distance, making 18 saves and tallying four ground balls. Senior Pat Farrell also had a solid performance defensively against the talented Duke attack, causing three turnovers.

Sophomore Michael LeClair registered six points on the offensive end with two goals and four assists. Sophomore Cole Carns upped his career high to four goals in the game.

Junior Dan Lomas added three goals while junior Tyler Cook chipped in with two goals.

Junior Matt Thistle dished out four assists and freshmen T Moyer (1g, 1a) and Connor Robinson (1g) each earned their first career points. Redshirt-junior Harris Levine added an assist and three ground balls and redshirt-junior Brad James posted an assist.

At the face-off ‘X’ junior Jamie Piluso went 13-of-33 (39 percent) and led the team with six ground balls.

The Opponent:
The Tar Heels opened their season against Furman and cruised to a 19-4 victory in their first of two straight matchups versus Southern Conference foes.

The seniors led the UNC offense in the season opener. Senior attack Joey Sankey posted six points (4g, 2a) while senior Jimmy Bitter had three goals and two assists. The team showed its depth with 10 different players scoring a goal.

Although Furman kept the face-off battle close, UNC won 13-of-25 (52 percent). The Tar Heels won the ground ball battle by a plus-18 (45-27) margin. The squad fired 52 shots compared to the Paladins’ 31 in the contest.

Redshirt-freshman Brian Balkam got the start in goal and allowed three goals and six saves in the first half. Redshirt-sophomore Duncan Sanders played the second half and allowed one goal and stopped one shot.

UNC entered the season ranked No. 6 and was picked to finish third in the ACC’s preseason poll. The team features six preseason all-ACC selections in Sankey, senior midfielder Chad Tutton, sophomore defender Austin Pifani, sophomore face-off specialist Stephen Kelly, junior goalkeeper Kiernan Burke and senior midfielder Ryan Kilpatrick.

The squad is coming off of a 10-4 season, which ended in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in a 9-5 loss to Denver. The Tar Heels final win of the 2014 season came against the Panthers in a 12-8 decision that was within one goal early in the fourth quarter.

Panther Notes:

• The Panthers and the Tar Heels have met each of the past two seasons with UNC taking the win in both contests.

• Juniors Dan Lomas and Matt Thistle are off to a great starts this season. Thistle posted career highs in points (7) and goals (5) against Delaware and has already racked up 11 points this year. Meanwhile, Lomas has nine goals and an assist through two games.

• The offensive attack has been more than just Lomas and Thistle, though, as sophomore Michael LeClair has nine points (3g, 6a) and sophomore Cole Carns has seven goals.

• Lomas has the third longest goal-scoring streak in the nation with one goal in each of his last 19 games.

• Redshirt-senior Austin Geisler stood on his head throughout the game against No. 3 Duke, compiling 18 saves to keep HPU within striking distance.

•Geisler and senior defenseman Pat Farrell became the first two players in the program’s history to be selected in the Major League Lacrosse Draft.

Next Up:
The Purple & White will be back on the road to play St. Joseph’s in Philadelphia, Pa. on Saturday, Feb. 14 at noon.


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