HPU's Lomas, Geisler earn top Atlantic Sun lacrosse honors
Sophomore Dan Lomas of the High Point University men’s lacrosse team was named the Atlantic Sun Offensive Player of the Year and redshirt-junior Austin Geisler was named the Defensive Player of the Year the league announced Wednesday. HPU had eight players selected to the All-Conference teams.
Lomas, Geisler, sophomore Jamie Piluso, sophomore Matt Thistle and junior Pat Farrell were named first team All-Atlantic Sun. Sophomore Brad James, senior Bucky Smith and senior Garrett Swaim were All-Atlantic Sun second team selections. Michael LeClair was named to the All-Freshman team. Tyler Cook was named the league’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Lomas led the league with 35 goals this season and is third in points with 39. Lomas has a point in each of the last 23 games and has a goal streak of 14 games. Lomas also has 33 ground balls and seven caused turnovers this season. Lomas was also the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
Geisler was a six-time Defensive Player of the Week this season. He is second in the NCAA in saves per game (13.79) and fifth in save percentage (.596). He also leads the Atlantic Sun in goals against average (9.43) this season.
Piluso was the league’s only unanimous All-Conference selection. The face-off specialist led the league and is 18th in the NCAA with a .580 win percentage. Piluso is also third in the league with 5.14 ground balls per game. Piluso went 148-of-255 at the X this season with 72 ground balls. He had a career-high 12 ground balls at Richmond while going 20-of-22 on face-offs and was named the league’s Offensive Player of the Week for his performance.
Thistle earned first-team All-Conference honors after leading the league in points (3.36) and assists per game (2.36). Thistle totaled 47 points on 14 goals and 33 assists this season. He was named the Atlantic Sun Offensive Player of the Week on March 31 after a six-point performance against Furman.
Farrell led the HPU defense with 16 caused turnovers this season. He also picked up 15 ground balls while starting all 14 games. He had three caused turnovers in a key win over Jacksonville during the regular season.
James and Smith earned second-team honors as staples of HPU’s first midfield line. James tallied 15 points on nine goals and six assists this season. Smith posted 12 goals and four assists for a total of 16 points on the year. Swaim had 10 caused turnovers and 23 ground balls to secure an All-Conference selection.
LeClair was named to the All-Freshman team after finishing third on the team in points behind Lomas and Thistle. He scored 12 goals to go with 10 assists for 22 points on the season. He also had 17 ground balls and two caused turnovers.
Cook carries a 4.0 in psychology after two years at High Point. He is a two-time Millis Scholar-Athlete. Cook tallied 12 points on 10 goals and two assists this season. He also picked up six ground balls with one caused turnover.
High Point won a share of the Atlantic Sun regular season championship and is the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament beginning today in Macon, Ga. The Panthers will face No. 3 Jacksonville in the first semifinal game at 3:30 p.m.
SMITH, SULLIVAN PACE EGOLF TOUR’S COLUMBIA OPEN
BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. — Brandon Smith of West Palm Beach, Fla. and Ryan Sullivan of Winston-Salem carded 6-under rounds of 65 to share the first-round lead at the eGolf Tour’s Columbia Open on Wednesday.
High Point’s Drew Weaver shares ninth at the par-71, 7,150-yard Columbia Country Club at 2-under 69.
WSSU NAMES WALKER ATHLETIC DIRECTOR
WINSTON-SALEM — Tonia Walker, associate director of athletics and senior woman administration at Winston-Salem State University, has been named the athletic director for the program effective immediately.
“Tonia has done an outstanding job in every role she has been given within the WSSU athletics program and has a wealth of knowledge of intercollegiate athletics beyond our campus,” said Chancellor Donald J. Reaves. “Having Tonia as the athletic director brings strong leadership to the program and provides stability for our players, coaches and staff. Tonia has certainly earned this opportunity and I am absolutely delighted that she is moving into this position on a permanent basis.”
Walker has been serving as interim athletic director since March 1 of this year and had previously served as interim director for nearly a year in 2009. She joined the WSSU athletics staff in August 2000 as assistant director and head volleyball coach.
STRONG COURSE, MINUS STRONG FIELD AT QUAIL HOLLOW
CHARLOTTE — Quail Hollow had the energy of a major when it first returned to the PGA Tour schedule 11 years ago.
Now it’s gearing up to host the real thing — the 2017 PGA Championship — with new grass on the greens and an exciting renovation of its daunting, three-hole closing stretch known as the “Green Mile.”
“It’s a beautiful test of golf,” Phil Mickelson said Wednesday. “There is not much you can do to this tournament to make it better.”
All that’s lacking is a major field for the Wells Fargo Championship.
Mickelson and Rory McIlroy are on opposite sides of the draw when the tournament gets started today, and any event would love to have those two stars. But they are the only players from the top 10, and while that’s one more than last year, it’s a mighty change from the time when Quail Hollow once attracted everyone from the top 10, and 27 of the top 30 in the world.
Some of that is scheduling.
There has been only a two-week gap between Augusta National and Quail Hollow the last two years, instead of a three-week break. That’s a product of how the calendar falls, and in golf, the calendar is built around the Masters being held the first full week in April. Masters champion Bubba Watson won’t return until next week.
Some of it has to do with injuries. Tiger Woods is a regular at Quail Hollow (and a past champion), but he is recovering from back surgery. Jason Day is sitting this week out to let his injured left thumb fully heal.
More players are involved in corporate programs with RBC (Hilton Head) and Zurich (New Orleans), and The Players Championship with its $10 million purse is next week. Others, such as Jordan Spieth, have back-to-back events in their native Texas after The Players.
And perhaps there is the memory of last year, when a combination of factors led to the bent greens having large patches of no grass. Nine players withdrew the week of the tournament. Even with new greens that roll beautifully, it usually takes at least a year for the grass to fully settle.
For now, Mickelson and McIlroy are eager to embark on what amounts to the second stage of the season. The Masters is over. The U.S. Open looms just over a month away. And it starts with a tournament that keeps trying to get better even when it was great.
BOBCATS HOPE SUCCESS LURES MORE PLAYERS TO CHARLOTTE
CHARLOTTE — Rod Higgins says the Bobcats are interested in adding another impact player this offseason.
And the team’s president of basketball operations is optimistic Charlotte has what it takes to land one.
Higgins said Wednesday at a postseason press conference the Bobcats winning 43 games and reaching the playoffs in 2013-14, combined with the success of last year’s top free agent signee Al Jefferson and steady development of point guard Kemba Walker should help lure other top-tier players to Charlotte.
Higgins says “if I was a free agent as a player, I would want to go play with good players. Al and Kemba are good players.”
He didn’t name potential targets.
However, when was asked if he could see the Bobcats adding a player of Jefferson’s caliber Higgins responded, “Of course.”