Site: Robins Stadium | Richmond, Va.
Score: High Point 11, #18 Richmond 8
Records: High Point (8-5), #18 Richmond (7-6)
Next HPU Event: First Round Of 2021 NCAA Tournament
The High Point University men’s lacrosse team won its second SoCon title with an 11-8 victory over #18 Richmond. Six Panthers scored in the SoCon Championship win. Kevin Rogers led the way in goals and points with four goals and an assist for five points. Dalton Sulver and Asher Nolting each scored two goals as well in the win. Nolting was named the 2021 SoCon Tournament MVP he was also named to the SoCon All-Tournament team joining him on the All-Tournament team were Davis Sampere, Parker Green, Dalton Sulver, and Kevin Rogers. High Point improves to 2-1 all-time in SoCon Championship games and 2-0 in SoCon Championship games in Robins Stadium.
“Beyond excited, almost speechless,” Coach Jon Torpey said after the SoCon Championship victory. “Again, credit to Richmond, their staff is amazing they put their guys in great positions throughout the season to succeed. We learned a lot from our last game with them and I am just so incredibly proud of our guys. I love our guys, I love their families and for them to get this today, it means a lot for the program.”
The game opened similarly to the regular-season meeting between the two sides with the first goal not coming until about halfway through the quarter. High Point struck first with 7:48 to play in the first quarter as Nolting scored to give HPU a one-goal lead. Nolting’s goal got the Panthers rolling as little over a minute later Koby Russell turned being pushed into a diving finish and put HPU up two. High Point kept the pressure on as Rogers spun, created space, and fired a shot that gave HPU a three-goal lead. Hunter Vines found an open Sulver who scored to give HPU a four-goal lead in the first quarter. The Spiders scored one with five seconds left in the quarter to make it 4-1 after a quarter of play.
The Panthers picked up right where they left off in the first quarter as the offensive explosion continued. Sulver scored a second goal as he was assisted by Rogers and gave HPU a 5-1 advantage. A minute and five seconds later Nolting came from X and scored in front of the goal to bring the score to 6-1. With 10:23 to play in the second quarter, Brayden Mayea scored after being fed by Nolting to make it 7-1 HPU. The Spiders scored two goals to end the quarter. High Point took a 7-3 lead into the break at halftime.
The Spiders held HPU scoreless in the third quarter and scored three straight going on a five-goal run that spanned two quarters. It was 7-6 High Point, as the championship game headed into the fourth quarter. Green and the defense made some huge stops in the quarter to protect the one-goal lead for HPU.
With 13:35 left in the fourth quarter, the Panthers snapped the Spider run and got back on the board. Rogers scored to bring the Panther lead back up to two, 8-6. Richmond came back with one of their own which made it 8-7 with 11:52 to play. With 9:17 to go freshman, Jack Vanoverbeke delivered a big one for The Purple & White to push the Panthers back out to a two-goal lead, 9-7. Rogers continued to provide big moments for High Point as he spun and fired one from long range that connected and put HPU up 10-7 with 6:31 to play. Rogers helped the Panthers create space with a deep goal from beyond the restraining line as he took advantage of an open Richmond goal and gave High Point a four-goal lead with 3:49 to go. The Spiders scored one more with 12 seconds to go, 11-8.
As the clock neared zeros, the bench provided Coach Torpey with a shower via the water cooler. Purple helmets filled the air as the Panthers threw them in straight up as they sprinted to celebrate with Green in the goal.
“I have such a tremendous group of guys that I work with,” Coach Torpey said when reflecting on the championship victory. “They do so much behind the scenes and in this year, where there was so much adversity and so many different unknowns they handled themselves like champions every day. They got these guys prepared to play and Coach Tuma on the defensive end of the field did a tremendous job, Coach Young has been an unbelievable asset all year, Coach McKemey has been with us since day one, and Coach Broschart coming in running the offense and just doing such a tremendous job this year, I love those guys. I don’t even have words, they are just the most amazing group of guys to show up to work with every day. Then our players, these guys they battle every game they give us their heart and soul every day. We practice in the morning and every day they are up and at ’em and ready to go and it’s just an honor to be their coach.
High Point won its second SoCon title and will be making its second-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. The Panthers will find out when, where, and who they will be facing in the First Round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at 9:00 PM on Sunday (May 9th) on ESPNU.