High Point stays close in 12-8 loss to No. 6 North Carolina

Let 'em know
HPU Athletic Communications, HighPointPanthers.com
HPU Athletic Communications, HighPointPanthers.com

Peter Koutroumpis – editor@trianglesportsnet.com

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Panthers men’s lacrosse team trailed the No. 6 North Carolina Tar Heels by one goal early in the fourth quarter before the Tar Heels pulled away with the 12-8 victory at Vert Stadium on Friday.

Goalkeeper Austin Geisler made 13 saves while attackman Matt Thistle and midfielder Mitchell Dupere each tallied three points among seven different scorers in the losing effort.

The Panthers’ impressive showing against a national and in-state leader in front of the second largest crowd (1,897) in attendance since the team played its first-ever Division I game back on Feb. 2, 2013, showed the tremendous strides the program has made.

“I am extremely proud of the way this team performed tonight,” said head coach Jon Torpey.

“We prepared hard all week and came out with a ton of energy and focus tonight. North Carolina is a top-10 program and to hang with them for much of the game is a testament to how hard this works. A few things didn’t go our way at the end and that was the difference in the game.”

The Panthers’ Bucky Smith scored with 12:11 to play in the fourth quarter to cut the Tar Heels’ lead to one goal, 8-7.

North Carolina (10-3, 2-3) then answered with its patented machine-gun offensive attack that resulted in four consecutive goals led by midfielder Chad Tutton, who finished the game with a career-high four goals and secured the Tar Heels’ 10th win of the season.

Currently sitting atop the Atlantic Sun Lacrosse League standings, the Panthers (8-5, 4-1) are in a position to potentially earn a spot as an automatic qualifier in NCAA postseason play for the first time in the program’s short two-year history.