- Patrick Barron/Daily
By Minh Doan, Daily Sports Writer
Published March 6, 2014
With just a little more than a minute left on the clock, High Point midfielder Mitchell Dupere rifled a shot at goal, barely getting past Michigan freshman goaltender Robbie Zonino. The score put the Panthers up by two goals, virtually putting a dagger in any hopes of a comeback.
Against a team in just its second year as a program, Michigan fell to High Point, 9-7, on Wednesday.
The Wolverines (2-4) took on High Point looking to sustain their good play after coming off a narrow defeat to one of college lacrosse’s powerhouses in No. 15 Cornell, 14-13, in overtime.
While both universities were on Spring Break, the Wolverines played as if they were on a break from playing offense in the first quarter. High Point (4-2, 1-0 Atlantic Sun) outshot Michigan, 17-2. If not for the stout play of Zonino, the Wolverines could have walked away from the first quarter down more than 3-1.
Zonino made 13 saves to keep Michigan in the game when it looked as if High Point was about to run away with a lead.
“Zonino had six saves for us in that quarter and really kept us in it early,” said Michigan coach John Paul.
Added sophomore defenseman Chris Walker: “Robbie’s been in the zone the last couple games. He’s been playing phenomenal, and as a team we’re incredibly lucky.”
Michigan picked up its offensive pressure in the second quarter, though. Freshman attacker Ian King added his team-leading 12th goal of the season and junior attacker Andrew Portnoy notched another goal to tie the game at three.
After a disastrous first quarter, Michigan seemed to have righted the ship and took some confidence going into the second half.
“At halftime, we knew the game could go either way,” Walker said. “We were excited for the opportunity to get a win on the road.”
Added Paul: “We were coming off a pretty good second quarter. We felt like if we could just get the ball to our offense we could be fine. We felt really good going into the second half.”
And early on in the second half, the confidence showed. The Wolverines took their first lead of the day after sophomore midfielder Kyle Jackson rifled a shot past High Point netminder Austin Geisler. Fifth-year senior Thomas Paras notched another goal soon after to put up Michigan up by two.
But the confidence was short lived as the Panthers came back with their own three-goal run to snatch the lead right back from the Wolverines. On the scoring run, attackers Dan Lomas and Matt Thistle — High Point’s leading scorers — recorded a goal and two assists, respectively. The two tallied eight points at the end of the game with Lomas putting five goals away while Thistle dishing out three assists.
“Lacrosse is just a game of runs,” Paul said. “A lot of their comeback was just getting more possessions.”
Michigan wouldn’t go away, though, as sophomore Peter Kraus, in his first start of the season, tying up the score and King adding his third goal of the day to lift the Wolverines back up by one.
But just as Michigan seemed to get back in the game, the Panthers closed the book on the scoring with another three-goal run to sink the Wolverines for good.
The Wolverines biggest problem was possessions, a recurring theme throughout the season. Sophomore faceoff man Brad Lott, who had been superb since returning to the team, had a poor game, going 4-for-15 from the faceoff X before giving way to freshman faceoff man Will Biagi.
“Part of (High Point’s) style is to slow the game way down,” Paul said. “We knew faceoffs would be key today because we’d need possessions in a low possessions game and Lott just wasn’t feeling it today.”