SPARTANBURG, S.C. – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team was selected second in the Southern Conference preseason coaches poll the conference announced on Thursday.
The Panthers placed four players on the Preseason All-SoCon Team, the most of any team. Attackmen Dan Lomas and Matt Thistle, goalkeeper Austin Geisler and faceoff specialist Jamie Piluso were all selected to the team after earning all-conference honors in 2014.
Last season HPU finished as the regular season co-champions of the Atlantic-Sun conference in its first season in the conference. The league has changed its affiliation to the SoCon and added Bellarmine to the fold for the 2015 season.
Bellarmine (34 points) was tabbed the favorite earning, four of the eight first-place votes. HPU (30) garnered three first-place votes to finish just ahead of Richmond (29), which got the last first-place selection.
Jacksonville (19) and Mercer (18) follow that trio before Furman (9) and VMI (8) round out the poll.
Lomas, the 2014 A-Sun Offensive Player of the Year, returns after leading the conference with 42 goals, scoring at least one in each game. The junior also tallied six assists and 36 groundballs last season.
Joining Lomas as one of the three attackmen on the All-Conference team is Thistle, another junior. The Massachusetts native led the A-Sun with 53 points (17g, 36a) in 2014.
Geisler, a redshirt-senior, earned A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year after winning the conference’s weekly defensive award five times during the year. He finished second in the nation with 13.63 saves per contest and led the league with a goals-against average of 9.48.
Piluso earned all-conference honors after placing 12th in the country with a .594 faceoff winning percentage. The junior also registered a team-high 95 groundballs last season.
The Panthers will open the season on Sunday, Feb. 1 at home against Delaware at noon. The team will then host No. 3 Duke on Saturday, Feb. 7 at noon.
2015 Men’s Lacrosse Preseason Coaches’ Poll
School (First-Place Votes) Total 1. Bellarmine (4) 34 2. High Point (3) 30 3. Richmond (1) 29 4. Jacksonville 19 5. Mercer 18 6. Furman 9 7. VMI 8
2015 Men’s Lacrosse Preseason All-Conference Team
Dan Lomas, Jr., High Point
Mickey Hoffmeister, Gr., Richmond
Matt Thistle, Jr., High Point
Mitchell Goldberg, So., Richmond
Tim Geran, Sr., Mercer
Austin Shanks, So., Bellarmine
Brendan Hynes, So., Richmond
Tyler Prasnicki, Sr., VMI
Colin Hart, Sr., Bellarmine
Austin Geisler, Sr., High Point
Jamie Piluso, Jr., High Point
Bobby Schmidt, Sr., Bellarmine