HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team travels to the City of Brotherly Love for a Valentine’s Day affair with Saint Joseph’s at noon on Saturday.
The Panthers (1-2) will be looking to rebound from consecutive setbacks to top 10 teams. Likewise, the Hawks (0-1) are looking to build momentum after taking a season opening 9-5 loss to Richmond.
Last Time Out:
The Tar Heels got off to a fast start and built a 7-2 lead at the end of the first quarter en route to a 15-9 victory on Tuesday in Chapel Hill, N.C. The Panthers pulled within four goals on multiple occasions, but each time UNC answered to maintain a comfortable lead.
The Panthers’ were able to win the possession battle with junior Jamie Piluso controlling the face-off circle. Piluso split the 10 face-offs in the first quarter, but won 15-of-18 for the rest of the game. He finished the evening going 20-of-28 (71 percent) and led the squad with nine ground balls.
Junior Matt Thistle led the Purple & White’s offensive attack with four points (2g, 2a). Redshirt-junior Brad James scored two goals on five shots while picking up a ground ball. Sophomore Michael LeClair, the reigning Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Week, chipped in with a goal and an assist.
Redshirt-junior Mitchell Dupere, junior Dan Lomas and freshman Connor Robinson added one goal apiece. Redshirt-junior Harris Levine and sophomore Sean Harrison each dished out an assist. Lomas also led the team with two caused turnovers to go with a season best six ground balls.
In the goal, redshirt-senior Austin Geisler made 12 stops and collected five ground balls.
The Hawks opened their season on Saturday, Feb. 7 with a 9-5 loss at Richmond. The teams were tied at 1-1 after the first quarter, but a 5-1 run over the next two quarters allowed the Spiders to pull away for the win.
Sophomores Mike Rastivo and Anthony Joaquim led the Hawks offense with a goal and an assist apiece. Senior Ryan McGee, sophomore Mike Lanham and freshman Connor Kearnan added the team’s three other goals.
In the losing effort, Lanham controlled the face-offs going 11-of-15 (73 percent) while leading St. Joseph’s with seven ground balls. The battle between Lanham and Piluso at the face-off ‘X’ will be noteworthy as both are coming off of stellar performances and are among the nation’s leaders.
Sophomore goalkeeper T.J. Jones made 11 stops on the 20 shots he faced while going the distance in the cage.
The Hawks were picked to finish second in the Northeast Conference behind only Bryant. McGee is the reigning Northeast Conference Offensive Player of the Year; so slowing him will be key for the Panthers defense.
Both teams will feature a Farrell on the defensive end. Senior Will Farrell is an all-conference performer and one of the leaders in the St. Joseph’s defense. Likewise, HPU’s senior Pat Farrell, his twin brother, returns after earning All-Atlantic Sun honors in 2014.
• The series between the Panthers and Hawks is tied 1-1 after HPU earned a 9-7 win last season after SJU won 8-5 win 2013.
• 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 15 points. Meanwhile, Lomas has nine goals and an assist through three games.
• Dan Lomas has the third longest goal-scoring streak in the nation with one goal in each of his last 20 games.
• Dan Lomas, Matt Thistle and sophomore Michael LeClair combined to score 125 points last season. That makes them the nation’s fourth highest scoring returning trio.
• Matt Thistle led the A-Sun with 53 points after dishing out 36 assists and 17 goals on the year. His 36 assists also led the A-Sun.
• Junior Jamie Piluso dominated in the face-off circle against UNC. After splitting 10 face-offs in the first quarter, Piluso won 15-of-18 for the rest of the game. He is 51-of-89 (57 percent).
The Purple & White will be home for the next two games hosting Sacred Heart on Feb. 21 at noon and Robert Morris on Feb. 28 at 11 a.m.