High Point MLAX Falls To Mercer In Overtime, 12-11

• Sophomore Michael LeClair registered a hat trick in the first half en route to a six-point performance.
• Three Panthers scored their first collegiate goals as junior Joseph Taulane and sophomore Nick Basile and Sean Harrison found the back of the net for the first time.
• High Point will wrap up its non-conference season on March 21 when it hosts Air Force at noon in Vert Stadium.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s lacrosse team fell to Mercer 12-11 in overtime in Macon, Ga. on Saturday afternoon.

The Panthers (3-5, 0-1) and the Bears (1-5, 1-0) went back-and-forth all day before Mercer’s Scott Baird scored in overtime to give the home team the win. The lead seesawed early before HPU took an 8-6 lead into the break. The Bears won the third quarter 2-0 to tie the score before the team’s played an even fourth stanza to send the game to overtime.

“I’m disappointed in our effort today because we got outworked by a hungry team” head coach Jon Torpey said. “We need to make sure that we come out focused and ready to execute on all the small things and effort-related qualities that we pride ourselves in.”

Sophomore Michael LeClair led the Purple & White offense. The Elkridge, Md. native equaled a career high with four goals to go along with two assists. Freshmen Connor Robinson (2g) and T Moyer (1g, 1a) each added two points in the contest.

Redshirt-senior Austin Geisler played well in goal stopping 17 shots and nearly had an 18th save as the game-winning goal glanced off his shoulder and eked its way into the goal.

Junior Joseph Taulane and sophomores Nick Basile and Sean Harrison all had their first career goals on the day. Meanwhile, redshirt-junior Mitchell Dupere earned his second score of the year. Another redshirt-junior, Brendan Montrello tallied his first point of the season with an assist.

Junior Jamie Piluso went 14-of-26 at the face-off ‘X’ and led the team with seven ground balls. On the wing, junior Adam Seal was credited with two ground balls and an assist.

Mercer earned a +9 margin (30-21) in ground balls as both teams took 45 shots. The Panthers were slightly more accurate with 31 shots on goal, while the Bears had 29. But Mike Nugent made 20 stops in the cage to secure the win for the home squad.

The Bears got on the board first as Chris Rahill scored just over two minutes into the contest. Dupere knotted the score at 1-all with his second goal of the year (12:01) before Mercer moved right back on top 2-1 with 11:20 on the clock. But, the Panthers got two straight goals from Harrison and LeClair to take their first lead of the day at 3-2 (10:15).

Rahill scored in a man-up situation to tie the score again (3-3, 3:01). The game appeared to be heading to the second quarter tied before the Panthers got in transition and LeClair scored at the buzzer to make it 4-3 HPU.

Robinson, then, added a man-up goal to give the Purple & White a 5-3 advantage (14:38). Mercer slowed the Panthers’ charge with a goal by Jackson Kleintz, but HPU got goals from LeClair and Taulane to extend its lead to 7-4 with 6:41 until the break.

However, the Bears clawed right back with two straight goals to pull back within one at 7-6 (2:41). That’s when Basile found the back of the next for his first goal of the year to send the game to the half with HPU leading 8-6.

Mercer didn’t go away and held the Panthers scoreless to win the third stanza 2-0 and send the game to the fourth quarter tied 8-8.

Moyer stopped the run with a goal to put HPU back on top at 9-8 with 12:24 to play. Two minutes later, Baird notched a goal to even the score at 9-9 with 10 minutes remaining.

Two times in the final eight minutes Mercer was able to regain the lead, but both times the Panthers had the answer as Robinson and LeClair each scored to send the game to overtime.

However, in the sudden death overtime, HPU failed to capitalize on Piluso winning the opening face-off and couldn’t keep the Bears from scoring and fell 12-11.

The Purple & White will step out of conference play for the final time when they host Air Force on March 21 at noon in Vert Stadium. The Falcons will join the Southern Conference beginning next season.