HPU MLAX Panthers Claw Past The Falcons 10-9

Posted by Press Release on March 21, 2015 at 5:31 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

• Sophomore Michael LeClair dished out five assists, a career high, to go along with a goal.
• Freshman Connor Robinson posted a career high with four goals as Canadians scored six of the team’s 10 goals.
• Freshman Zach Tuell earned the win in his first career start making nine stops in the net.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team never trailed, but had to hold off Air Force late for a 10-9 win on beautiful Saturday afternoon in Vert Stadium.

The Panthers (4-5) got five assists and a goal from sophomore Michael LeClair and four goals from freshman Connor Robinson to build a 10-7 lead. However, the Falcons (4-5) fought back to within one and had two chances to tie late, but HPU and its freshman goalie Zach Tuell held on for the victory.

“Our guys played well today and earned a hard-fought win over a very good opponent in Air Force,” head coach Jon Torpey said. “I’m really proud of our guys and of Tuell stepping in and getting the win in goal today.”

Tuell became just the second player to start in goal for the HPU program and the second to be credited with a win. The Gainesville, Va. native, who learned he would start on Friday, made nine saves while picking up two ground balls and causing two turnovers.

“The first two minutes of the game my jitters were out of this world,” Tuell said afterwards. “But the defense helped me through everything and all my teammates had my back and it was an unreal experience.”

Offensively, LeClair and Robinson led the Panthers. LeClair set a new career high with five assists to go along with his 15th goal of the season. Meanwhile, Robinson scored a career-high four goals. Freshman Tyler Vogrig scored the first goal of his career and junior Dan Lomas notched his 21st of the season as Canadians accounted for six of the team’s 10 goals on the day.

Junior Tyler Cook registered two goals and sophomore Nick Basile added his second goal of the year to round out the goal scoring. Freshmen T Moyer and Jason Ashwood got assists while Basile registered an assist to produce his first career multi-point game.

Jamie Piluso starred at the face-off ‘X’ to help HPU win the possession battle. The junior went 15-of-23 (.652) and had a game-high eight ground balls. Junior Adam Seal played well from his face-off wing spot to collect five ground balls.

Junior Zack Price had three caused turnovers and senior Pat Farrell caused two to help their freshman goalkeeper in his first start.

The Purple & White won the ground ball battle by a +14 margin (32-18) and took eight more shots (36-28). Air Force’s goalies combined for 14 saves, but it was not enough to get the win.

Cook opened the scoring at the 10:52 mark off of LeClair’s first assist. LeClair added another assist on Vogrig’s goal to make it 2-0 with 9:32 left in the first quarter. The Falcons answered with a goal from Nick Hruby, but trailed 3-1 at the end of the first stanza after Cook’s second goal.

Air Force opened the scoring in the second quarter to pull within one before Robinson and Basile scored to send the Panthers to the locker room with a 5-2 advantage.

Keith Dreyer cut the Falcons’ deficit to two at 5-3 with 12:32 to play in the third frame. LeClair, then, responded with a goal off an assist from Ashwood (6-3, 8:00). However, Air Force bounced back with back-to-back goals to make it a 6-5 game with four minutes left in the quarter. But the Purple & White jumped right back up by three on two goals by Robinson (2:26 and 1:42).

Austin Smith got a goal at the end of the third quarter to keep the Falcons within striking distance as the game headed to the final stanza at 8-6.

Robinson opened the fourth quarter with his third goal in four minutes of action to give HPU a 9-6 advantage. But once again Air Force came right back with a goal from Hruby to cut in back to two (9-7, 11:08).

Lomas broke through for a goal with 8:44 to play to give the Panthers’ their 10th goal of the day. The Falcons wouldn’t go away and got consecutive goals from Barrett Anigan and Christopher Allen to make it 10-9 with 4:44 to play.

Piluso came up big and won the face-off, but after Lomas’ shot to put the game away was stopped Air Force had a chance to tie. The Panthers defensive earned a stop, but the squad couldn’t run out the clock and gave the Falcons’ one more chance to knot the score.

The Falcons got one final shot from Chris Walsch but it sailed wide and the Panthers poured on to the field to celebrate the victory.

The Purple & White will be back inside Vert Stadium to play Furman on March 28 in its second Southern Conference game of the season.

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