No. 1 seed High Point 17, No. 4 seed Jacksonville 3
HIGH POINT, N.C. – No. 1 seed High Point rolled past No. 4 seed Jacksonville 17-3 Thursday in the semifinals of the Southern Conference Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Vert Stadium. The Panthers got four goals and an assist from Hunter Vines and three goals and an assist from Asher Nolting in reaching Saturday's title game for the first time since 2015.
The 11th-ranked Panthers (13-2) did not allow a goal until the third quarter, opening up a 12-0 lead before Jack Dolan got the Dolphins (6-9) on the board. HPU keeper Tim Troutner Jr. came up big with 13 saves on the day before being lifted midway through the fourth quarter.
High Point avenged its only regular-season league loss, a 12-10 setback at Jacksonville on March 23, and got a measure of revenge for last season’s semifinal matchup between the squads, which saw the Dolphins finish the game on an 8-1 run in a 12-11 overtime win.
This contest was all Panthers from the opening whistle, as High Point matched the tournament record for goals and set a new mark for margin of victory. Vines got the scoring started just 2:11 into the contest, with Nolting and Jake Schleppy adding first-quarter goals.
Koby Russell and Vines found the back of the net in the second to make it a 5-0 game at the half before the Panthers blew things open with an eight-goal third period. Dalton Sulver scored twice in the frame, while Nolting added his second of the day and Vines notched his third.
Nolting, the two-time SoCon Offensive Player of the Year, completed a hat trick of his own to open the scoring in the fourth quarter, pushing his season total to 43 goals to match the High Point program record.
Faceoff specialist Davis Sampere scored a man-down goal just seven seconds after a JU strike and Vines added his fourth goal of the day later in the period.
All told, 11 different players scored goals for the Panthers.
Dolan’s goal with 2:24 left in the third frame broke up the shutout and gave him a Jacksonville program-record 53 points on the season. He would add assists on fourth-quarter goals by Evan Tyler and Dwayne Mattushik to make the record 55 points.
High Point, which won the 2015 SoCon tournament title, awaits either No. 2 seed Air Force or No. 3 seed Richmond, who meet in Thursday’s second semifinal. The Falcons won titles in 2016 and 2017, while the Spiders are the defending champions.
No. 3 seed Richmond 7, No. 2 seed Air Force 6
HIGH POINT, N.C. – Defending champion and No. 3 seed Richmond downed No. 2 seed Air Force 7-6 Thursday in the semifinals of the Southern Conference Men’s Lacrosse Championship at Vert Stadium to advance to the title game for the fifth straight season. The Spiders will face No. 1 seed and 11th-ranked High Point on Saturday at noon.
Richmond (9-6) scored twice in the final six minutes of play to earn its way back into the title game. Ryan Lee poked one in off a scrum in front of the goal with 5:52 remaining to tie the contest at 6 and Tate Gallagher notched the game-winner with 3:20 left.
Air Force (10-5) had its chances at a tying goal in the waning minutes but couldn’t put one away. With just under a minute left, Trey Lervick’s shot found the right post and ricocheted harmlessly out of the way. Another Lervick shot went wide with 38 seconds left and a Falcon turnover with 29 seconds left on an errant pass sealed the result as Richmond was able to run out the clock.
Neither team led by more than two goals on the evening.
The game was tied at the half, as Air Force’s Christian Kuhn scored a nifty goal with 30 seconds left in the second quarter to send the teams into the break even at 3. Blake Gillund fired a shot on frame that Richmond keeper Jack Rusbuldt saved but could not corral. Kuhn, stationed just outside the crease, scooped the rebound out of the air, took two steps and slammed it home from close range to knot the score.
After Richmond’s Teddy Hatfield opened the scoring just two minutes into the contest, Air Force’s Chet Duncan notched the first two goals of the second frame to put the Falcons ahead for the first time on the day.
The Spiders’ Gallagher evened the score with 4:17 left in the second and Ryan Lanchbury buried his 46th goal of the year less than a minute later to put UR back on top.
Richmond scored the first two goals out of the break to reclaim a two-goal lead, with Hatfield and Lanchbury both striking again. For Lanchbury, the goal was his 47th of the year, extending his SoCon single-season record. A Lervick strike midway through the third started a string of three straight Air Force goals, as Kevin Cox scored just 44 seconds after Lervick to again level the score, this time at 5.
Lervick struck again with 13:56 left in the contest to put the Falcons on top for the final time before Lee and Gallagher came through for the Spiders late.
Hatfield, Lanchbury and Gallagher each finished with two goals for UR, while Hatfield added three assists for a five-point day. In doing so, he become the first player in SoCon history to reach the century mark in career assists, finishing the game with exactly 100 to his credit.
Lervick and Dunstan had two goals apiece to pace the Air Force.
Rusbuldt had 12 saves on the evening, while his counterpart, Braden Host, finished with six.
Richmond and High Point will face off Saturday at Vert Stadium for the second time in as many weeks, as they ended the regular season against each other. The Panthers claimed a 15-14 win in that contest, with HPU’s Asher Nolting scoring with 6.4 seconds left to seal the win, the No. 1 seed in the tournament and a share of the regular-season SoCon title.
SoCon Men’s Lacrosse Championship
(Vert Stadium; High Point, N.C.)
May 2 (Thursday)
No. 1 High Point 17, No. 4 Jacksonville 3
No. 3 Richmond 7, No. 2 Air Force 6
(Vert Stadium; High Point, N.C.)
May 4 (Saturday)
No. 1 High Point vs. No. 3 Richmond, 12 p.m.
All games to air live on ESPN+