TOWSON, MD. – The High Point Panthers added a milestone entry to their short history by earning a berth in the 2015 NCAA Men’s Lacrosse Championship Tournament.
However, the experience was a short-lived one as the Panthers succumbed to the 18th-ranked Towson Tigers, losing 10-8 in the Tournament play-in game played at Johnny Unitas Stadium on Wednesday.
Sean Harrison posted the first hat trick of his career to lead the High Point offense.
Matt Thistle (2 goals, 1 assist) and Michael LeClair (1 goal, 1 assist) supported the effort, while goalkeeper Austin Geisler finished with 13 saves in the losing effort.
“I’m proud of our guys,” head coach Jon Torpey said.
“They were resilient and never stopped fighting. We’ve talked about playing for our 17 seniors and we can’t thank them enough for the work they’ve done for this program throughout the last four years. My heart hurts for those guys today because they deserve to have a chance to play on.”
The Panthers got off to a surprisingly impressive start right from the opening faceoff, and eventually held a 5-0 lead into the latter minutes of the opening quarter.
However, the Tigers eventually dominated at the faceoff-X, winning 15-of-22 draws, managed ball possession effectively, and held High Point scoreless for upwards of 30 minutes – including keeping Panthers leading goal scorer, Dan Lomas, off the score sheet.
Also dominating the ground ball game by a 37-20 margin, Towson put together an overwhelming 8-0 run, and led 8-5 midway through the third quarter.
It was an advantage that the Tigers held on to while denying the Panthers any opportunity to get closer than two goals for the rest the game.
High Point ended the season with a 10-7 record overall while earning its first Southern Conference Championship and NCAA Tournament berth in its third season of NCAA Division I competition.