HPU MLAX Hosts Furman In SoCon Clash

Posted by Press Release on March 27, 2015 at 12:24 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team returns to Southern Conference action against Furman on Saturday at noon in Vert Stadium.

The Panthers (4-5, 0-1) will be aiming to get back to .500 and build momentum in conference play. Meanwhile, Furman (2-6, 1-1) will be trying to bounce back from a tough 11-10 setback to Mercer in overtime.

Last Time Out:
High Point built a 9-6 lead early in the fourth quarter, but had to hold on for a 10-9 triumph over a pesky Air Force squad on March 21 in Vert Stadium. The Panthers got four goals from freshman Connor Robinson and six points (1g, 5a) from sophomore Michael LeClair to lead the offense. On the defensive end, the Purple & White got a stellar performance from freshman Zach Tuell who made nine saves to earn the win in his collegiate debut.

HPU’s balanced offensive attack saw redshirt-junior Brad James add two goals while sophomore Nick Basile registered his first multi-point game with a goal and an assist. Robinson’s four goals combined with a goal apiece from junior Dan Lomas and freshman Tyler Vogrig gave the Panthers six goals from their three Canadians.

As he has done all season, junior Jamie Piluso won the face-off battle going 15-of-23 (.652) in the circle. He also led HPU with eight ground balls. Junior Adam Seal chipped in with five ground balls from his face-off wing spot to help the Purple & White earn a +14 margin (32-18) in ground balls.

Led by junior Zack Price, the defense caused 10 turnovers. Price registered three while Tuell and senior Pat Farrell each tallied two. The ability to win the possession battle allowed the Panthers to attempt eight more shots (36-28) than Air Force did on the day.

The Opponent:
The Paladins went 1-5 in their non-conference slate including losses to top-ranked teams in North Carolina and Denver. However, the team has performed well in conference play with a 9-7 win over Bellarmine and a hard-fought 11-10 loss to Mercer in overtime.

In the setback against the Bears, senior Kenny Meinsen posted four goals to reach 17 on the season. The 2014 all-conference selection is the focal point of the team’s attack and has taken 33 percent of Furman’s shots this season (89-of-270). Sophomore Robbie Betchley III and freshman Jonah Moore are the squad’s other main threats scoring 11 goals each.

Freshman Reilly McDermott mans the goal for the Paladins. In his first collegiate season, McDermott has compiled a .542 save percentage and an 8.90 goals against average. Meanwhile, he is fourth on the team in ground balls with 13. Defensively, sophomores Joe Stone and Tommy Farnish are tied for the team lead in caused turnovers.

At the face-off ‘X,’ sophomore Hil Blaze is 69-of-149 (.463) after going 8-of-25 (.320) in the loss to Mercer. Blaze is leading the Paladins with 23 ground balls, however the team is losing the ground ball battle by a -3.9 margin per contest. HPU should have an advantage in possession, as Furman is last in the SoCon in ground balls whereas the Panthers are first.

Panther Notes:

• The Panthers and Paladins met on March 29, 2014 in Atlantic Sun play when HPU earned a 15-7 victory. Junior Matt Thistle scored three goals and dished out three assists while junior Dan Lomas added four goals in the win last season.

• Sophomore Michael LeClair became the first player in HPU history to have six points in consecutive outings in games against Mercer (March 14) and Air Force (March 21). He leads the team with 33 points this season.

• Junior Dan Lomas’ next goal will be the 100th of his High Point career to make him the first Panther to reach that milestone.

• Freshman Connor Robinson became the third Panther to win SoCon Offensive Player of the Week honors after scoring four goals against Air Force on March 21. He joins sophomore Michael LeClair and redshirt-junior Brad James as the three HPU players to win the conference’s weekly offensive award this season. Senior Pat Farrell won the defensive prize on Feb. 24.

• Junior Jamie Piluso won the face-off battle against Air Force taking 15-of-23 (.652). He is 135-of-232 (.582) on the year and leads the SoCon with 7.22 ground balls per game.

• With the victory over Air Force, freshman Zach Tuell became just the second Panther to earn a win in goal joining redshirt-senior Austin Geisler who earned the program’s previous 15 wins.

• The Panthers have had 25 different players tally a point this season. In comparison, only 22 Panthers was credited with a point in 2014.

Next Up:
The Purple & White will travel to Jacksonville on Saturday, April 5 at 2 p.m. to continue SoCon play.

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