Maryland men’s lacrosse takes on High Point this Saturday with the chance to start the season 3-0. It’s worth noting that by the end of Maryland’s first three games last season, the Terps were 1-2 to start the season and still made it to the national championship.
In the 2016 home opener, the Panthers limited the Terps to just four first-half goals, and were deadlocked with the then-No. 4 team in the country as late as the third quarter.
The lacrosse program at High Point is fairly new, but it’s been making gradual strides since its inaugural year in 2013. Weeks after giving Maryland a run for its money, the Panthers took down No. 10 Virginia in Charlottesville for the program’s first win over a top-10 opponent.
The Panthers look to come in to College Park and finish what they started last year.
When and where: Saturday, Feb. 15, 1 p.m., Maryland Stadium
How to watch: BTN2GO ($)
High Point Panthers (1-1)
Head Coach: Jon Torpey. He’s been with the Panthers since the team’s inception, and it doesn’t look like he’s going anywhere anytime soon. After going 3-12 in its first year of NCAA play, Torpey brought the team to new heights in 2014, going 10-7 with a berth to the program’s first NCAA Tournament appearance. A former assistant coach at powerhouse University of Denver, he’s bringing the Panthers to prominence and doing so quickly.
Players to watch
Michael LeClair, senior, attack, No. 19. The current points leader for the Panthers, LeClair scored two goals against Georgetown last week. He’s riding a 41-game point streak into Saturday, and is the team’s primary playmaker and scorer.
Tim Troutner Jr, sophomore, goalie, No. 42. The Annapolis native is one of the best young goalkeepers in the country. His 12.25 saves per game last season ranked fifth nationally and first among all freshmen. In his sophomore campaign, he’s only allowed 12 combined goals against Duke and Georgetown.
Storylines to watch
High Point is excellent in everything involving offense. The Panthers ranked first in the Southern Conference in goals, assists, points, ground balls and shots per game last season. They haven’t scored in double digits yet this season, but they’re certainly capable of doing so. Considering the Terps have scored 31 goals over the span of two games, they’ll have to put up an offensive showcase to beat them at home.
Which Austin Henningsen will we see? The sophomore had a nice bounce-back game against Saint Joseph’s after a dismal start against Navy, but can he keep up that level of production? Controlling the X is an important facet of Maryland’s game, and it made a visible difference in the offense when Henningsen was having his way against the Hawks.
Will Matt Neufeldt continue his impressive string of long-pole goals? Long-pole goals are always fun to see, and Neufeldt has notched two goals in transition off gorgeous feeds from his teammates. He’s become that unpredictable X-factor, carving out an exciting niche role for himself in the offense.