The Weekend in Stick: Welcome to the Season

Jim McIsaac

"The Weekend in Stick": It's exactly what it sounds like -- a recapitulation of this weekend's most notable. No doink.

These will look a little different as the season progresses, but you get the idea. It will also appear on Mondays, but with only one game this weekend, it was easy to get it out of the way.

High Point Doesn't Lay Down for Delaware, Falls 12-10
New Division I programs tend to have one common thread that binds them together: Curb-stompings against established programs, especially early in their freshman campaigns. High Point -- in its first tour of duty under Jon Torpey -- bucked that trend a bit on Saturday, acquitting themselves fairly well against a Delaware squad that should reside somewhere in the meaty middle of THUNDERDOME! -- one of college lacrosse's most balanced leagues -- in 2013. This is grounds for having a feast with large quantities of exotic foods and balloon animals.

Early season games tend to have a little more volatility in outcomes than late-season contests, but High Point's performance this weekend is both surprising and encouraging: The Panthers took an early 3-2 lead; Virginia transfer Austin Geisler started in goal and had 14 stops against 46 shots (a 53.85 save percentage on the day); the team fought back from seven three-goal deficits (3-6, 4-7, 5-8, 6-9, 7-10, 8-11, 9-12) and one four-goal deficit late in the fourth quarter (8-12) to stay in close contact with a Delaware squad that had the potential to burn High Point at the stake; the Panthers shot just above 32 percent, generating assists on half their tallies, and only played three fewer possessions than the Blue Hens; and freshman Dan Lomas pumped in five goals on seven shots while also picking up six ground balls.

Now, High Point wasn't exactly farting rainbows -- the team turned the ball over on half of its offensive opportunities, eight of the teams 15 turnovers being of the unforced variety. The Panthers were also in man-down postures a lot, seeing around 12 percent of their defensive possessions played in a personnel imbalance. In the overall, however, High Point appears to have exceeded expectations in their first go 'round, and that's a great thing.

As for Delaware, Saturday was an effort to build upon. With the Blue Hens trying, once again, to play their entire schedule in February, the development turnaround for Delaware going into Bucknell next weekend is truncated. Eric Smith, lost last season due to injury, came back in a nice way against High Point, putting up three points on two goals and an assist while registering five shots and picking up 10 -- 10! -- groundballs. The rest of Delaware's scoring was nicely leveraged, which bodes well for a program looking to fill some gaps from 2012. What is especially encouraging for the Blue Hens was Tyler Barbarich's work at the dot, winning about 61 percent of his attempts on the day, mitigating the loss of Dan Cooney due to graduation. This is something that Bob Shillinglaw can work with, and while the margin of victory wasn't quite as comfortable as the Blue Hens may have liked, it is in a strong enough position to start from at the sunrise of the season.

ELSEWHERE
There is no elsewhere this week, college boy.

PUMMELING AND PUMMELING AND PUMMELING
Your best individual performances from the weekend:

  • Backstop Circus: Neither Chris Herbert (Delaware) or Geisler surpassed the 15-save threshold, but Geisler -- because the certificate is already printed and needs to go to someone -- takes home top honors this week with his 14 stops and the 42 percent of defensive possessions that he ended with a save. This ice bath is for you, Geisler.
  • Five Goal Club: Lomas (High Point). You're entitled to an extra helping of what looks like mashed potatoes at the dining hall this weekend.
  • The Tom Schreiber is Killing Everyone from Everywhere Award: I'm in a giving mood so I'll spread the wealth this week: Delaware's Smith and High Point's Matt Thistle share top honors. Smith's efforts are chronicled above, but Thistle put together a four-point effort (1G, 3A) on six shots while giving the ball away only twice and scooping up five ground balls.

Do you have anything else to add from this weekend? The comments, they are yours.

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