RICHMOND, Va. – For the second season in a row, the High Point University men’s lacrosse team will face Richmond with a conference championship on the line on Saturday at 2 p.m.
The Panthers (9-6, 4-2) earned a dramatic 7-6 win over Mercer on Thursday night in the SoCon semifinals. Meanwhile, the Spiders (11-4, 6-0) advanced to the finals with a thrilling 8-7 victory over Furman.
Last season, Richmond registered an 8-7 win in the Atlantic Sun Championship over HPU to earn a spot in the dance.
The game will be streamed on ESPN3 and can be found ESPN3.
Notes from the Semifinals:
• Sophomore Michael LeClair scored two goals, including the game-winner with 4:11 left in the contest.
• Redshirt-senior Austin Geisler made 10 saves, picked up five ground balls and caused one turnover to limit the Bears to just six goals.
• Junior Matt Thistle led the offense with three points – one goal and two assist.
• Freshman T Moyer registered a career high with two goals in his first collegiate tournament game.
• Junior Dan Lomas and sophomore Sean Harrison scored a goal apiece on Thursday.
• Mercer bested High Point in face-offs (6-of-17), ground balls (28-21) and in shots (36-23). However, the Panthers were able to overcome those numbers by keeping the Bears scoreless in EMO (0-3) and scoring on half of their shots on goal (7-of-14).
What They Said:
Head Coach Jon Torpey
“That was a hard-fought game. Both semifinals were decided by a goal and obviously all four teams were deserving of being here. I loved the way our guys fought and played tonight.”
“I thought the defensive effort on both sides of the field tonight was fantastic. Both goalies played well and both teams did a good job of limiting shot opportunities.”
“It’s so awesome to have Austin back. He’s a leader. He’s a winner. He attacks every day like a professional. He’s been a selfless guy this year and has been banged up a little bit. We knew by giving him some rest, and trusting in [freshman] Zach Tuell the last couple of games, he could be healthy and give us our best shot at winning.”
Sophomore Attack Michael LeClair
“[Scoring the game-winning goal] is a credit to our team. We have threats all over the field that can dodge and cause the defense to slide and that’s what Sean Harrison did and I was able to sneak past the goalie.”
“I have all the faith in the world in our defense and Austin. We have some talented guys down there to always make the stop.”
“We’re hungry and looking for another win. These past two weeks since we last played Richmond has been all about us going back to the fundamentals and the basics. We’ve focused on working hard and getting back to playing High Point lacrosse.”
• The Spiders lead the all-time series with the Panthers 2-1. HPU won the first contest between the two programs, but Richmond won the A-Sun title game last season and then bested the Purple & White in the 2015 regular season.
• Juniors Dan Lomas and junior Matt Thistle along with sophomore Michael LeClair is the nation’s fourth highest scoring trio to return after combining for 125 points in 2014. The trio has accounted for 137 points this season.
• The Panthers have had 28 different players tally a point this season. In comparison, only 22 Panthers were credited with a point in 2014.
• Dan Lomas is three goals short of his HPU single-season record of 42 set last season. Matt Thistle is on pace to break his points per game record of 3.3 ppg.
• Redshirt-senior Austin Geisler is third among active players in saves per game with 12.78 for his career.