HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team kicks off the 2015 season at noon on Sunday, Feb. 1 against Delaware at Vert Stadium.
In 2014, the program’s second year of competition, head coach Jon Torpey led the Panthers to a share of the Atlantic Sun Conference regular season title. This year’s team returns 36 letterwinners, including nine starters, and welcomes the addition of 13 newcomers to the roster.
Junior attackmen Dan Lomas and Matt Thistle, junior face-off specialist Jamie Piluso, senior defender Pat Farrell and redshirt-senior goalkeeper Austin Geisler are all back after earning All-Atlantic Sun First Team honors last season.
This year, Lomas, Thistle, Piluso and Geisler were named to the Preseason All-Southern Conference team as the Panthers were picked second in the league’s coaches’ poll.
Lomas, the 2014 A-Sun Offensive Player of the Year, will lead HPU’s offensive attack. He finished the 2014 season leading the league with 42 goals and finishing 13th in the nation with 2.80 goals per game.
Farrell and Geisler, both 2015 Major League Lacrosse draftees, will lead the Panthers’ defense. Farrell led the team with 16 caused turnovers in 2014 and will be the team’s top 1-on-1 defender. Geisler, the 2014 A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year, finished second in the nation with 13.63 saves per contest and was first in the league with a goals against average of 9.48.
A Look at Delaware:
The Blue Hens finished last season with a 7-8 record overall and a 1-4 record in the Colonial Athletic Association. The team was picked finished sixth in the six-team CAA this season.
Junior goalkeeper Connor Peaks was selected to the preseason All-CAA team. Peak finished last season with at 19th in the nation in save percentage (.542) and 15th with a 9.13 goals against average. He made 15 saves and allowed just three goals in 60 minutes versus HPU last year.
Delaware has to replace its top two scores from last season but return three players that scored at least 20 points last season. Senior attackman Beau Jones is the team’s top returning scorer with 11 goals and 15 assists.
Sophomore midfielder Steve DeLargy is back after posting 16 goals and eight assists. DeLargy made his collegiate debut against HPU last season and scored two goals in the Blue Hens’ victory. Fellow sophomore Jackson Finigan tallied 20 points (seven goals, 13 assists) in his freshman campaign.
Senior face-off specialist Tyler Barbarich is back after finishing fourth in the nation in faceoff percentage (.637). In the 2014 game against the Panthers, Barbarich went 4-of-8 in faceoffs. He also led the team with 84 groundballs last year.
• High Point has opened each of its two seasons of competition with games against Delaware. The Blue Hens lead the series 2-0.
• Juniors Dan Lomas and Matt Thistle and sophomore Michael LeClair combined to score 125 points last season. That makes them the nation’s fourth-highest scoring returning trio.
• Dan Lomas has the fourth-longest goal-scoring streak in the nation with one game in each of the his last 17 games.
• The Panthers boasted both Atlantic Sun players of the year last year as redshirt-senior Austin Geisler took A-Sun Defensive Player of the Year honors and junior Dan Lomas was awarded the A-Sun Offensive Player of the Year.
• Senior defenseman Pat Farrell and redshirt-senior goalkeeper Austin Geisler were 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.
• The Panthers were picked second in the SoCon Preseason Coaches’ Poll and placed a league-high four players on the All-SoCon team with Austin Geisler, Jamie Piluso, Matt Thistle and Dan Lomas all receiving the accolade.
The Panthers will be at home again next Saturday to host defending national champion and preseason No. 3 Duke at noon.