HPU opens men’s lacrosse era

Feb. 02, 2013 @ 11:17 PM

It was a day of firsts for the High Point University men’s lacrosse program. The biggest one — its first win — had to wait, though.

In front of a large, enthusiastic crowd, the Panthers kept up with Delaware, a mainstay among the country’s top lacrosse programs and a Final Four team in 2007, in falling 12-10 on a cold, windy afternoon at Vert Stadium in the program’s first-ever game.

“It’s good to get the first out of the way,” High Point coach Jon Torpey said. “We’re not happy with the result, but I’m happy with the effort the guys put forth. ... I thought our guys fought the whole time — the effort was there, the energy was there. We had a couple lapses on defense. Early on, we gave them a couple goals. I think our offense, when it was playing loose, did a great job.

“We got some good, young guys down there and some guys who I think will be very good at the Division I level. They’re just young. That’s the one battle we keep fighting — inexperience. But if we keep putting up efforts like that, I think we’ll have positive results.”

Dan Lomas, a freshman attackman, scored five goals while Matt Thistle, a sophomore attackman, also had a goal and three assists to lead the Panthers, who have worked for two years to build the program from scratch. Brendan Montrello scored the program’s first goal, while Adam Seal, Bucky Smith and Christian Beith also had a goal apiece.

“It didn’t go exactly the way we wanted it to,” Lomas said, “but I think everybody in that locker room knows that we can beat any team in the country. I think it’s woken up other programs too. I think (Delaware) came in expecting to just blow us out of the water. We didn’t come out very well, but I think we adjusted to the pace of things. It took a little while, but I think we were pretty happy with how we played.”

After allowing the Blue Hens an early lead, High Point answered with Montrello’s goal with 9:42 left in first quarter to tie it. After another Delaware goal, the Panthers then scored back-to-back goals by Thistle and Seal to lead 3-2. The Blue Hens, however, scored four straight goals and five of the next six to lead 7-4 at halftime.

The teams traded goals throughout the third before Delaware scored back-to-back goals to lead 12-8 with 6:04 left in the fourth. High Point, however, finished strong with two goals in the final 2 1/2 minutes. Austin Geisler finished with 14 saves in goal for the Panthers, while Chris Herbert had 12 for the Blue Hens, who were led offensively by Eric Smith with two goals and one assist.

“I think it was a couple breakdowns in the first quarter and late in the second quarter,” Lomas said of the difference. “They scored goals right at the end, and those are signs of a young team. We just didn’t know how to deal with the quick pace and everything. Other than that, we didn’t have many breakdowns and we took advantage of when they broke down. Other than those breakdowns, we played well.”

High Point plays its next two games at home — Friday afternoon at 3 against Towson and Sunday afternoon at 1 against Air Force.