HPU Men’s Lacrosse Entertains Sacred Heart on Saturday

Posted by Press Release on February 20, 2015 at 11:52 am under College | Comments are off for this article

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team will take on Sacred Heart on Saturday at noon in Vert Stadium.

The Panthers (1-3) will be looking to bounce back from a heartbreaking 12-11 setback at St. Joseph’s on Feb. 14. Meanwhile, the Pioneers are opening their season on Saturday due to the cancellation of their game at Binghamton last weekend.

Last Time Out:
HPU built a three-goal lead in the fourth quarter before the Hawks stormed back to take the 12-11 win with a goal by Ryan McGee with 2.6 second on the clock on Feb. 14. The Panthers got off to a slow start, but built their lead behind junior Dan Lomas’ six goals. However, a furious 6-2 run by St. Joseph’s over the final 20 minutes gave the Hawks the win.

Lomas’ scoring outburst tied the program record, which he set two years ago against Michigan. Sophomore Michael LeClair added two goals and two assists while freshman Connor Robinson had the first multi-goal game of his career posting two scores.

Junior Matt Thistle dished out two assists and freshman Jason Ashwood earned the first assist of his career. Redshirt-junior Brad James scored the other goal for the HPU.

Defensively, redshirt-senior Austin Geisler made 14 saves in goal while six different Panthers caused a turnover. Junior Jamie Piluso went 11-of-25 (44 percent) in the face-off circle and earned three ground balls. Thistle led the team with a career-high six ground balls.

Statistically the game was as even as it could have been. SJU won the ground ball battle by one (26-25) while the Panthers outshot the Hawks by one (35-34). It was the home team’s accuracy that made the difference. SJU had 26-of-34 shots on goal (77 percent) and HPU had 21-of-35 (60 percent).

A Look at Sacred Heart:
The Pioneers are coming off a 6-9 season in 2014 and must replace six starters from last year’s squad. The team was picked to finish fourth in the Northeast Conference after placing third last season with a 4-2 mark in league play. Sacred Heart will be looking to avoid a slow start after getting off to a 1-6 start in 2014.

Junior Alex Dodge is the team’s leading returning scorer after the Pioneers lost their top four scorers from 2014. Dodge tallied 29 points (19g, 10a) while sophomore Brian Masi earned NEC all-freshman team honors posting 26 points (18g, 8a).

Senior Jon Flood took over in goal late in the season last year and finished with a 3-2 record. Flood compiled a 10.62 goals against average and stopped 54 percent of the shots he faced.

Seniors Joe Kemp and Mark Macdonald split time at the face-off ‘X.’ Kemp went 71-of-156 (45.5 percent) while Macdonald went 63-of-149 (42.3 percent) in the circle. The team finished 53rd among the 67 Division I teams with a 41.2 face-off percentage. Kemp tied for the team lead with 43 ground balls with Macdonald close behind with 42.

Sophomore Ryan O’Donoghue finished second among Pioneers in caused turnovers (22) and fifth in ground balls (22).

On the year, Sacred Heart scored 10.13 goals per game and allowed their opponents to post 11.67 per contest.

Panther Notes:

• The Panthers lead the series with the Pioneers 1-0 after earning a 12-10 win in Fairfield, Conn. last season. Redshirt-senior Austin Geisler made 18 stops and junior Matt Thistle posted two goals and two assists to lead HPU to victory.

• Lomas, Thistle and Michael LeClair combined to score 125 points last season. That makes them the nation’s fourth highest scoring returning trio. The trio has 48 points through four games including 28 of the team’s 48 goals.

• Lomas has the third longest goal-scoring streak in the nation with at least one goal in each of his last 21 games.

• Lomas also has the 12th-longest point streak in the country and enters Saturday with at least one point in 30 games. Thistle has posted at least one point in 19 consecutive outings.

• Junior Jamie Piluso dominated in the face-off circle against UNC winning 20-of-28 (71 percent). He is 62-of-114 (.544) on 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.

Next Up:
The Panthers will host Robert Morris on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 11 a.m. It will be the first contest between the two programs.

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