DURHAM, N.C. – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team stayed within two goals of No. 7/9 Duke in the first half before falling to the Blue Devils 17-6 on Friday night in Durham, N.C.
Redshirt-sophomore Austin Geisler made 15 saves in the game, including 13 in the first half. Freshman Dan Lomas led the Panthers with three goals and freshman Michael Messenger added two goals.
“I was really proud of the fight the team showed tonight,” said head coach Jon Torpey. “Duke is a tremendous team and the guys gave a great effort. We gave Duke too many offensive possessions, especially in the third quarter, and they capitalized. The team continues to get better and the experience our young players got tonight will pay off down the road.”
Josh Dionne and David Lawson scored three goals each for Duke while Case Matheis finished the game with two goals and three assists.
Duke scored two goals on the first two shots of the game by Matheis and Bill Connors. With 12:20 on the clock Lomas got HPU within a goal with a shot from the right alley. Sophomore Thistle assisted the goal. Dionne scored two minutes later to give the Blue Devils a 3-1 lead with 10 minutes left in the opening quarter.
Messenger scored his first goal of the day with 7:28 on the clock in the first quarter. HPU came up with a ground ball in the offensive zone, getting the ball to Messenger who fired in a shot from the left alley to make the score 3-2. After four scoreless minutes of play David Lawson scored for Duke to regain the two-goal advantage. Matheis fired in a shot as the first quarter expired but Geisler made the save with his legs to keep it a 4-2 game.
Duke opened up a three-goal lead twice in the second quarter but each time the Panthers answered to get back within two. Lawson scored first in the second before Messenger responded with his second of the night to make it a 5-3 game. Messenger ran left to right across the top of the offensive zone and fired in a waist-high shot. With 9:41 on the clock Myles Jones scored for the Blue Devils, giving Duke a 6-3 advantage. Thistle scored the final goal of the second period with 6:16 on the clock to make the score 6-4. Geisler made a huge save with nine seconds left in the period to send HPU to the locker room down two, 6-4.
Duke scored eight straight in the third quarter top open up a 14-4 lead with 2:51 left in the period. Lomas scored his second goal of the game with 52 seconds left in the third quarter to end Duke’s run. Lomas and Thistle both had shots hit off the posts in the final 30 seconds of the quarter.
Lomas scored the final goal of the game with 9:46 to play to make the final score 17-6.
Lomas also had three ground balls and one caused turnover in the game. Junior Garrett Swaim picked up a team-high five ground balls and freshman Jamie Piluso picked up three while going 5-for-12 on faceoff attempts.
The Panthers return to Vert Stadium for the final home game of the season on April 13. HPU will host another first-year program, Marquette, at noon.