Seniors lead HPU men’s lacrosse past Marist, 11-9

• The senior duo of Matt Thistle and Dan Lomas combined for eight points including the game’s final four goals.
• Senior Jamie Piluso owned the face-off circle going 18-23 (78 percent) while grabbing 10 ground balls.
• Seniors Zack Price (3ct), Joseph Taulane (2ct) and Richard Byrd (2ct) combined to force seven of HPU’s 13 caused turnovers.
• Celebrating his 21st birthday, junior Connor McKemey made his debut starting on the offensive midfield.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – Seniors Dan Lomas and Matt Thistle scored the contest’s final four goals as the High Point University men’s lacrosse earned an 11-9 victory over Marist on Saturday in Vert Stadium.

Trailing 9-7 with a minute remaining in the third quarter Lomas scored his second goal to cut the Panthers’ (3-3) deficit to one entering the final frame. From there, Thistle scored two and Lomas added another in the final period as HPU overtook the Red Foxes (1-2) for the 11-9 win.

“I’m really proud of our guys,” head coach Jon Torpey said. “Marist is a really good team. They are scrappy and compete for 60 minutes. We were able to get 30 guys in the game and had the opportunity to start some guys that haven’t started before. There were so many storylines in today’s game and I thought our goalies did a good job today.”

Junior Connor McKemey made his collegiate debut with the start in the midfield. McKemey had served as the team manager during the previous two seasons.

“I’m really proud of Connor,” head coach Jon Torpey said. “He’s been through more adversity than any other player I’ve gotten to coach and for him to get the start on his 21st birthday is pretty magical.”

Lomas and Thistle each finished the day with three goals and an assist for the Purple & White offense. High Point seemingly had possession all game as senior Jamie Piluso went 18-23 (78 percent) at the face-off ‘X’ while recording 10 ground balls. Redshirt-senior Adam Seal played a crucial role in that picking up four ground balls.

Likewise, the squad’s senior class led the defense effort. In the defensive midfield, redshirt-senior Richard Byrd (3gb, 2ct) and senior Joseph Taulane (2ct) wreaked havoc. Meanwhile in close defense, senior Zack Price tallied three caused turnovers.

Buoying the offense was a trio of juniors. Sean Harrison (1g, 1a), Michael LeClair (1g, 1a) and Dallas Bridle (2g) added depth to the High Point offense. Similarly, sophomore Peyton Garrett tallied two assists as sophomore Jason Ashwood rounded out the scoring with a goal.

In goal, redshirt-junior Matt Siegmund played the first half making two stops and holding the Red Foxes to just one goal in the second quarter. Likewise, sophomore Zach Tuell made five huge saves while keeping Marist from scoring over the final 19 minutes.

High Point finished the day with a 37-18 edge in ground balls and took 41 shots compared to 25 for Marist. The Red Foxes goalkeeper Brian Corrigan had a stellar day stopping 17 of HPU’s shots on goal.

Marist scored first before Harrison found Lomas for a tally to knot the score at 1-1 (11:56). Thistle then scored off an assist from LeClair to give HPU its first lead of the day (2-1, 8:08).

However, the lead was short-lived as the Red Foxes closed the frame on a 3-0 run to take a 4-2 edge into the second quarter.

But for the second week in a row the Purple & White defense stepped up in the second quarter not allowing a goal until 14 seconds left. The offense used the momentum built by Piluso in the face-off circle – 7-of-7 in the quarter – to put together a 5-0 run before that goal however.

LeClair kicked off the run at the 12:32 mark. His goal was followed by Bridle’s first tally of the day to even the score (4-4, 10:56). Ashwood put the Panthers on top before Harrison scored 50 seconds later to make it 6-4 (5:07). Bridle wrapped up the run with his second goal at the 3:17 mark before Marist scored to end the first half with HPU leading 7-5.

Much like they did in the first period, the Red Foxes came out hot in the third quarter scoring four straight to build a 9-7 advantage with 4:44 left in the third. The Panthers defense had seen enough and didn’t allow the visitors to score again in the final 19:44.

Lomas scored in the closing minute of the third to send HPU to the final quarter trailing 9-8. Thistle then evened the score at 9-all with 12:45 to go.

From there, High Point pulled ahead on an unassisted goal by Lomas (10-9, 6:48). Two minutes later Thistle added an insurance goal to round out the scoring (11-9, 4:19).

The Red Foxes had a transition opportunity with 1:20 remaining on the clock, but Taulane thwarted the chance with his second caused turnover to seal the triumph.

The Panthers stay in the Triad over spring break preparing for a visit from Providence on Saturday, March 12 at 11 a.m.