HIGH POINT, N.C. – Despite taking an early 3-1 lead after the first quarter, the VMI lacrosse team fell to host High Point by a 16-7 score Friday night at Vert Stadium in High Point, North Carolina.
The Keydets (2-8, 0-5) dominated the opening period with two goals from Austin Henry and another from Ryan Perouty before High Point (4-7, 4-1) scored a goal with six seconds on the board before the end of the quarter.
The Panther goal swung the momentum in favor of High Point, which exploded for seven goals in the second quarter while allowing just one VMI goal by John Daniel to move ahead, 8-4, at the break. The Panthers would go on to score eight second half goals and allowed just four more VMI goals en route to the league victory.
“I thought we came out with great energy and set the tempo in the first quarter,” said VMI head coach Jon Birsner. “We generated a lot of looks early, were able to get it inside and finish as we jumped out to a lead. But credit the High Point faceoff unit - they dominated the second quarter and kept the ball out of our sticks for most of the remaining first half.”
Henry, Daniel and Perouty finished the game with two goals apiece for the Keydets while Wesley Sanders scored the other. Sanders was credited with two assists in the game for three total points, bringing his VMI career total to 98 and only two away from the century mark.
Defensively, junior Kyle Walsh and Brandon Crespo caused two turnovers each with Walsh garnering a team-high nine groundballs. Freshman goalie Bill Osteen earned 16 saves in the loss. “I’m proud of the effort of our guys,” Birsner said. “I think Kyle Walsh continues to show that he’s the best defensive player in the SoCon. He’s leading the nation in groundballs as a defenseman and won his match up a lot against the best player in the SoCon in Asher Nolting. But I give Nolting a lot of credit; he put his team on his back and allowed them to pull away. He was impressive.
“We’ll learn from the pockets of poor execution and continue to build. This team plays a lot of great minutes out there and have established themselves as a presence now in the SoCon. We need to continue to take a step forward with each game like we have and get ready for next Saturday.”
The Keydets host Bellarmine next Saturday at noon for Senior Day as the final home game of the season.