HIGH POINT, N.C. – Despite falling behind 3-0 early, the High Point University men's lacrosse team finished the game on a 16-4 run to earn a 16-7 Southern Conference victory over VMI on Friday night in Vert Stadium.
The Panthers (4-7, 4-1) allowed the game’s first three goals to go behind 3-0. But once the HPU offense started clicking, the Keydets (2-8, 0-5) couldn't find the answer. Senior Peyton Garrett snapped HPU's 14-minute scoring drought to start the game before freshman Asher Nolting tallied five second-quarter points as the Purple & White built an 8-4 halftime lead.
From there, VMI scored first in the second half before the Panthers went on another run to close out the 16-7 triumph. The win keeps HPU at the top of the SoCon and gives the squad its first three-game winning streak since 2016.
A day after learning he'd been added to the Tewaaraton Watch List, Nolting tied a career high with seven points, notching four goals and three assists. Also registering a hat trick, senior Chris Young scored three goals on four shots to go with an assist. For the first time in his career, sophomore Ricky Koehler tallied two goals while adding an assist.
At the face-off 'X,' sophomore Davis Sampere, the reigning SoCon Offensive Player of the Week, lived up to the billing winning 16-of-21 attempts, grabbing 10 ground balls and scoring a goal.
On the defensive end, junior Tim Troutner Jr. made 10 saves while allowing six goals before senior Zach Tuell relieved him, posting three saves, and freshman Mark Kolmer made his career debut with a save. Sophomore Luke Cappetto led High Point with two caused turnovers as the team forced six on the day and picked up four ground balls. Meanwhile, junior Joel Schwarz grabbed five grounders on the night.
Senior Connor Robinson joined the multi-point scorers with a goal and an assist and senior Jason Ashwood was credited with two assists.
Along with Garrett, junior Griff Caligiuri, sophomores Dalton Sulver and Mitchel Snyder and freshman Tyler Stinson all scored a goal, giving HPU 10 goal-scorers on the evening. Rounding out the scoring, freshman Hayden Baker earned his first career assist.
Freshman Taylor Acra and sophomore Nick Walsh played key roles on the wings as both were credited with three ground balls in the contest.
VMI started fast building a 3-0 lead while Bill Osteen made seven first-quarter saves in goal. However, Garrett broke through with HPU's first goal with seven seconds left in the first.
Nolting then took over in the second, scoring his first goal at the 10:48 mark to make it 3-2. When the dust settled 2:09 later, Nolting had three goals and assisted on Koehler's goal while Sampere scored during the 6-0 run. Though the Keydets answered at the 4:25 mark, Young scored twice to send HPU to the locker room up 8-4.
VMI answered again out the break, cutting the deficit to three at 8-5 before Nolting assisted on Young's third goal and scored his fourth to make it 10-5 with 10 minutes left in the third.
The Purple & White played add-on the rest of the way, outscoring the Keydets 6-2 the rest of the way to close out a 16-7 triumph.
The Panthers wrap up their road slate at Air Force on Saturday, April 21, with the opening faceoff at 1 p.m. EST.
The Keydets host Bellarmine next Saturday at noon for Senior Day as their final home game of the season.