HPU MLAX Panthers’ Comeback Falls Short At Marist, 10-9

• Junior Dan Lomas extended his goal-scoring streak to 23 games, the third longest active steak in the nation, with three goals at Marist.
• With his four goals today, junior Matt Thistle has posted a point in 22 consecutive outings and leads the squad with 29 points this season.
• High Point will open conference play with a trip to Mercer on March 14 at 1 p.m.

POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team made a furious comeback attempt in the fourth quarter, but fell 10-9 to Marist in Kenney Stadium on Saturday.

The Panthers (3-4) held a 5-3 lead midway through the second quarter, but a 7-0 run by the Red Foxes (3-1) allowed the home team to build a 10-5 lead in the third quarter. HPU scored the final four goals and had one last shot from sophomore Michael LeClair that sailed high as the clock expired.

“Hats off to their goalie [Dave Scarcello], he played an excellent game,” head coach Jon Torpey said. “I felt like, at times, we got away from executing our game plan and we didn’t do a good job of consistently winning our matchups on both sides of the ball.”

Its dynamic juniors Matt Thistle and Dan Lomas led HPU offensively. Thistle posted four goals to extend his point-scoring streak to 22 games. Meanwhile, Lomas made it 23 straight games with a goal as he tallied three scores and an assist on the day.

Junior Zack Price and LeClair had the team’s other goals. Price’s was his first point of the season and LeClair had two points (1g, 1a). Junior James Dunn got the first assist of his career while redshirt-junior Tyler Cook also picked up an assist.

HPU won the ground ball battle by a +12 (41-29) margin and attempted more 20 more shots (50-30). However, the Red Foxes got 63 percent (19-of-30) of its shots on the goal. On the other side, HPU got only 56 percent (28-of-50) to Marist’s goalie Scarcello.

Scarcello made 19 stops for the home team while redshirt-senior Austin Geisler made nine for the Purple & White, including one in the last 30 seconds to give the offense one last chance to tie the score.

At the face-off ‘X,’ junior Jamie Piluso went 12-of-22 (55 percent) and led the team with six ground balls. Thistle tallied five ground balls and Price registered four ground balls and two caused turnovers.

Marist jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the blink of an eye as Drew Nesmith scored at the 14:23 and 13:51 marks. Price got HPU on the board with his first goal of the season off an assist from LeClair (2-1, 12:12). However, the Red Foxes responded seconds later to retake their two-goal advantage (3-1, 11:23).

But Lomas had the answer. The Burlington, Ontario native notched goals off assists from Dunn and Cook to tie the score at 3-all with 3:32 left in the first quarter. Thistle extended the Panthers run to 4-0 with a goal to close the first quarter and another score early in the second stanza (5-3. 13:35).

Marist was able to rebound and score the final two goals of the half to send the game to the break tied at 5-5. From there, The Red Foxes extended their run 6-0 as they posted four goals in the first six minutes of the third quarter to take a 9-5 lead. The advantage swelled to five as Colin Joka scored at the 4:58 mark to make it 10-5.

Thistle stopped the run with his third goal of the game with 3:54 remaining in the third quarter (10-6). The Chelmsford, Mass. native scored his fourth goal off an assist from Lomas to make it 10-7 with 5:38 to go. LeClair got a shot passed Scarcello to cut the deficit to two (1:18) before Lomas made it 10-9 with 1:07 remaining.

Piluso won the ensuing face-off and Thistle and Lomas each got off shots before Marist got possession. Geisler made a huge save with 28 seconds left, but HPU could only get off one more shot as LeClair’s shot sailed over the goal as the clock expired.

The Panthers will stay on the road as they open up their conference season at Mercer on Saturday, March 14 at 1 p.m. in Macon, Ga.