We’re back with the Alphabetical 2014 NCAA D1 Previews! Like last year, we’ll go through all of the D1 men’s teams for 2014 (there are 67 this year!) and we are now moving on to the High Point Panthers, located in High Point, NC. HPU had a great showing in 2013 as a first year team, can they improve on that this Spring?
In a recent preview, we talked about Hartford, and it’s possible that the Hawks are seeing more turnover than anyone else. Tons of starters gone. High Point is in the exact opposite position. Almost everyone is back, and for a team that went 3-12 last year, while competing in a good number of those losses, it means expectations are going to be notably higher.
HPU took down Towson early and that alone made Year 1 a success. It proved they could win. They didn’t get their other two wins until later in the year (over Michigan and Mercer), and both games were close, but HPU was clearly on the right path. Solid outings against Delaware, Jacksonville, and Lafayette provided hope for the future.
On offense, High Point has a good core of scorers in Matt Thistle, Dan Lomas, Mitchell Dupere, Bucky Smith, Brad James, and David Seal. Michael Messenger is no longer on the team, but there are some new faces at attack in Hunter Edens (Robert Morris) and Stevie Kirkup (UNC), as well as a couple of freshmen who could contribute. The midfield should be stronger and deeper this year, and that should help greatly on both ends of the field.
Jamie Piluso did a great job taking face offs last year, winning 51% as a freshman. He will be pushed in practice and helped in games by Chris Davila and Daniel Czerkawski. Defensively, Garrett Swain, Zach Price, Pat Farrell, Sam Johnston, and the rest of the HPU core all return. It’s a good group that will only get better, especially with Austin Geisler in goal. Don’t be surprised to see Anthony Porchetta to push for time there, and with two freshman on the roster anything can happen.
The road for High Point is likely still a long one if they want to consistently compete with, or be, a Top 20 team. The path that was set in 2013 provides a solid foundation for future success. Coach Torpey seems to be approaching this team in a very sustainable manner, and the campus seems excited by the prospects of success.
High Point’s schedule for 2014 is not all that challenging, but there are some solid out of conference games on the slate in Towson, Delaware, North Carolina, Bellarmine, and Drexel. Their Atlantic Sun games should all be pretty competitive, and interesting, as the conference could provide some “shocking” NCAA AQ winners in the coming years. High Point’s immediate focus is likely on winning the Atlantic Sun AQ. Expect those conference games to take on an instant rivalry tone. An AQ is on the line!
For more NCAA D1 Lacrosse coverage, check out Alphabetical 2013 NCAA D1 Preview: Air Force, Albany, Army, Bellarmine, Binghamton, Boston, Brown, Bryant, Bucknell, Canisius,
Colgate, Cornell, Dartmouth, Delaware, Detroit, Drexel, Duke, Fairfield, Furman,Georgetown, Hartford, and Harvard.