With the 2019 college lacrosse season complete, it’s time to look back at how all 73 teams did during the season, along with an early look at each squad for 2020.
Note: These are not end of season rankings.
Here’s our last five Year In Review posts we’ve done:
To see all of our posts, check out the 2019 Year In Review section on the site.
Let’s continue our 2019 Year In Review!
#18 High Point Panthers
2019 Record: 13-3 (6-1 in SoCon)
Postseason: Defeated Jacksonville in SoCon semifinals, lost to Richmond in SoCon Championship
Head coach: Jon Torpey (7th Season)
Goals: Asher Nolting and Chris Young (44)
Assists: Asher Nolting (48)
Points: Asher Nolting (92)
Faceoffs: Davis Sampere (214-of-360; 59.4%)
Ground balls: Davis Sampere (129)
Caused turnovers: Chris Price (19)
Goals against average: Tim Troutner Jr. (11.05 GAA)
Save percentage: Tim Troutner Jr. (54.1%)
Key seniors departing: G Tim Troutner Jr. (11.05 GAA, 54.1% SV %, 51 GBs, 16 CTs, 1 A), A Chris Young (44 Gs, 9 As, 28 GBs, 3 CTs), LSM Griff Caligiuri (14 CTs, 36 GBs, 2 Gs, 4 As), FOGO Brandon Savoie (52.6% FOs, 11 GBs, 1 G)
Senior scoring departing: 63 of 354 points (17.8%)
Senior starts lost: 44 of 160 (27.5%)
The most surprising team of the 2019 season was...High Point? They had a very legitimate case for that distinction after a 6-8 mark in 2018.
High Point had one of the best starts in all of college lacrosse. After shutting out St. Bonaventure in their first ever game, the Panthers faced off against second-ranked Duke at Koskinen Stadium on a Wednesday. After the first 30 minutes, High Point had a surprising one-goal lead before the Blue Devils were able to take the lead early into the fourth. But that’s when the Panthers turned it on with a six-goal run, highlighted by two goals from Koby Russell and Chris Young. On the other side of the field, Tim Troutner, who head coach Jon Torpey said was the best goalie in the country after the game, stood on his head the entire night with 19 saves to complete the upset. And the Panthers entered the top 20.
The team returned to action a week later on the road against Drexel, who also provided the Panthers with a challenge of their own. High Point never had the lead until Russell’s goal in overtime gave the team the win. But there were still some that wondered if High Point was legit or not. In another midweek road game against 12th ranked Virginia, the Panthers saw themselves down a goal in the fourth quarter before scoring three straight with Troutner shutting the door yet again with a 17-save performance for their second big win over an ACC opponent. They were the only team in 2019 to beat Duke and Virginia.
With a 4-0 mark, High Point looked like they could take an at-large spot in the NCAA Tournament if they won out the rest of the regular season. That was not to be, as St. John’s threw a wrench in their plans with a shocking one-goal road win. After Ben Baker’s goal early in the fourth to take a two-goal lead, the Red Storm scored the final three goals of the game. Following Baker’s goal, High Point turned the ball over nine times and had all four of their shots stopped. The Panthers were then involved in another back-and-forth game, this time against Robert Morris. That game needed double overtime Hunter Vines put home the game-winner.
High Point still looked good, especially with blowout wins over UMBC and VMI as they entered SoCon play. There was still a slim chance they could make the NCAA Tournament as an at-large. But any hopes of that were crushed when Jacksonville went on a 5-0 second half run en route to a two-goal upset of the Panthers. Now, High Point needed to win to conference tournament if they wanted to play deeper into May. They ended the season with wins over Furman and Air Force, as well as three straight one-goal victories over Mercer, Bellarmine, and Richmond, which ended with an Asher Nolting goal with six seconds left in the game.
In the Panthers’ rematch against the Dolphins in the SoCon semifinals, High Point scored the game’s first 12 goals and shutout Jacksonville for the first 42:36 of the game as they cruised their way to the SoCon Championship game against defending champion Richmond. After Ryan Lee scored late in the second quarter to give the Spiders a one-goal halftime lead, Richmond went on two separate 4-0 runs in the second half as the Panthers were unable to take the SoCon title at home and saw their season come to an end.
For the second straight season, Asher Nolting led the way on offense and was the first player in High Point history with 40 goals and 40 assists in a season. He finished with 92 points. Redshirt senior Chris Young tied Nolting with 44 goals and led the nation in shot percentage (59.5%). Junior Ben Baker started 12 games at attack and added 27 goals of his own. Sean Coughlin also saw some time at attack and started in a pair of games. The midfield units were deep with Dalton Sulver, Koby Russell, Hunter Vines, Jake Schleppy, Ricky Koehler, and Ryan McLaughlin.
With Troutner manning the cage, Chris Price, Clayton Krol, and Nick Walsh were the starting close defensemen with Luke Cappetto and Griff Caligiuri as the two main LSMs. Colin Clothier, Taylor Acra, Joel Scerbo, and Nate Carter were the primary short stick defensive midfielders. Davis Sampere took the bulk of the faceoffs and was just shy of 60% on draws.
High Point has two big losses on both sides of the ball. On offense Chris Young was one of the team’s best finishers at attack. That could be a spot for potentially Coughlin or Tyler Stinson. The midfielders, including Schleppy who will be back for a fifth year, all return.
The defense and defensive midfield should all be the same, but the man in net will not. Troutner will be hard to replace, but the Panthers could look toward Griffin Basile or Antonio Arcona in goal. Basile played about 47 minutes in five games.
If the Panthers are able to beat Richmond, High Point should be the favorite in the SoCon in 2020. And maybe they might be able to score another upset or two.
How many wins will High Point get in 2020?
This poll is closed