The 2021 season was a season in which grad transfers and fifth-year players seemed to dominate the landscape. However, as usual, there were freshmen at every position that broke through and shined during their first season of college lacrosse.
While it has taken a bit longer for teams and conference to get their schedules together for the 2021 season due to the Coronavirus outbreak and various restrictions surrounding the virus, Schedule release schedule has finally begun!
Jon Torpey and the High Point Panthers landed a commitment from an in-state product earlier this week week, as Hough, N.C., junior defenseman/LSM John Long announced his commitment to the Panthers. Long is the third commitment in the 2022 class for High Point, joining Stevenson, Ill., attackman Ryan Hynes and Thornton Academy, Maine, defenseman Alex St. John.
On Monday evening the #11 ranked High Point Panthers marched into Charlottesville, VA and came out victors over the #12 ranked Virginia Cavaliers. The Panthers rallied from down 3-0 early to take down their second ACC opponent of the year.
Virginia started the game off very hot as Matt Moore, Dox Aitken, and Ian laviano combined for three goals in the first five minutes of the game to go up 3-0 early. After that 3-0 run Virginia wouldn’t get much going at all on offense as the High Point defense really limited them.
Meanwhile, the High Point offense was heating up as they went on a five goal that lasted from midway through the first until early in the second quarter. During that High Point run Asher Nolting notched one while Jake Schleppy found the back of the net twice. Koby Russell and Taylor Acra also scored during that run.
The Cavaliers were able to tie it up at 5-5 with with 6:01 left in the second quarter, and it was a very tight game from that point on. High Point and Virginia each scored twice more to make it an even 7-7 tie heading into the half.
It was a back-and forth start to the second half as Matt Moore started the scoring for Virginia and Ben Baker answered for High Point just eight seconds later. Just eighteen seconds later Virginia had scored twice more, with a Petey LaSalla goal giving them a 10-8 lead with 10:30 in the third.
After High Point tied it up again at 10-10 with 3:50 left in the third was a very tight and exciting end to the quarter. Each side went back-and-forth in the last two minutes of the quarter. Matt Moore found the back of the net with :41 in the third to give Virginia the 12-11 lead heading into the final fifteen minutes of play.
High Point was able to score a goal pretty early in the fourth to tie things up at 12-12. The Panthers defense held their own and Troutner started to heat up the fourth, which really gave High Point a boost of energy. A Chris Young goal with 7:09 in the fourth put High Point up 13-12. After a forced turnover on a clear the panthers scored an empty netter to go up 14-12 with 2:02 in the game. Virginia got a late goal from freshman Jeff Connor, but the High Point defense stood tall and prevented the Cavaliers from scoring in the final minute to force overtime.
High Point was led by Asher Nolting and his 4 goals. Chris Young and Koby Russell also had 2 points (1G,1A) in the win. On defense Clayton Krol really agve the Panthers a boost with 2 caused turnovers and 5 groud balls.
Virginia saw Matt Moore’s lead the Cavaliers offense with 7 points (3G,4A). Ian Laviano also had 4 goals. On defense it was Jared Conners (5CT,3GB) and Logan Greco (3CT,5GB) that led the way for the Cavaliers.
Tim Troutner made 17 saves for High Point while Alex Rode made 12 saves for Virginia.
The Virginia Cavaliers and High Point Panthers are set to faceoff in a Monday evening top 20 matchup. The Cavaliers come into this game after defeating Lehigh on Friday while High Point escaped Drexel in overtime on Saturday.
Virginia comes into this game hot off a good win against Lehigh on Friday. In that win the Cavaliers defense really showed much prowess in leading Virginia to victory after getting down in the first half. This defense will have a bigger challenge on Monday then a shorthanded Lehigh.
High point is in the top 25 in offensive efficiency and are in the top 20 in offensive pace, according to Lacrosse Reference’s stats. The Panthers offense is led by Asher Nolting and Chris Young who have been deadly early in this season. Nolting has a total of 17 points (7G,10A) while Young has 14 points (10G,4A). Those two aren’t the only weapons that High Point has on that offensive side of the ball.
When the Panthers upset Duke they utilized a ton of different weapons to bury the Blue Devils defense. High Point is able to draw out an opposing defense and get the ball inside to a cutter on the crease for a goal. The Virginia defense will especially have to stay tight and be aggressive on Nolting who seems to have eyes all over the field with his knack for finding open guys in tight areas.
On defense for High Point they are led by goalie Tim Troutner who has recorded 38 save this season and has an overall save percentage of 62%. The Panthers will need Troutner to be on point to stop the shooters that Virginia possesses on that offense. Chris Price and Griff Caliguri have also been two key pieces to that Panthers offense that will look to have a big day against the Cavaliers.
Virginia’s offense is is led by Michael Kraus, Dox Aitken, and Matt Moore who have all had good starts to the season. Kraus has tallied 9 points (5G,4A) thus far while Aitken and Moore have 7 points each through the first two games of the season. Ryan Conrad and Ian Laviano have also been good to start the season. The Cavaliers offense will look to stay consistent much like they did in the second half against Lehigh.
They can’t let themselves get down and start making the mistakes we saw them make against Loyola. Much of those offensive woes can start on the defensive end of the field. Virginia is led on defense by Jared Connors and Logan Grecko who will be looking to have another good game and shut down that high powered Panthers offense.
In goal to anchor Virginia’s defense is sophomore Alex Rode who has continued to improve after a stellar freshman campaign in 2018. Rode has 17 saves with a 40% save percentage through their first two games this season.
This is a very good matchup that has some history to it as these two teams have met every year since 2016 when High Point upset Virginia 12-11 in overtime. This years matchup may be the best yet as both squads come in ranked in the top 20, and they play a similar style of fast paced lacrosse. Add the shot clock in the equation and we could see a lot of goals unless the defense for either team has anything to say about that.