The Virginia Cavaliers suffered a heartbreaking loss on Monday evening as the High Point Panthers escaped Charlottesville with a 14-13 victory. HPU, which already has a convincing win over then-No. 2 Duke this season, is hardly the pushover of years past, and they showed that on the field.
Dynamic attackman Asher Nolting led the Panthers with four goals, including a SportsCenter-worthy behind-the-back goal. Virginia won the stats battle in turnovers (19-25), caused turnovers (15-8), and face offs (19-11), but High Point goalie Tim Troutner Jr. put up 17 saves — including one with six seconds left that would have tied the game — in the victory.
Ian Laviano led the Hoos with four goals, with Matt Moore adding three of his own. Petey LaSalla won 18-of-26 (69%) of his face offs and had a goal in the loss. Virginia goalie Alex Rode had 12 saves of his own, facing 40 shots from the Panthers.
Moore — a midfielder-turned-attackman — got the scoring going for the Cavaliers on Virginia’s first offensive possession of the game. After a violation was called on UVA’s Schwenk at the X, senior defenseman Logan Greco caused a turnover and gave the home team a chance to extend its lead. A pass from Kraus would sail out of bounds, but Virginia got the ball right back after forcing a turnover on the ensuing High Point clear.
Aitken’s first of the day gave Virginia a 2-0 advantage, and Ian Laviano made it 3-0 on a quick-stick finish on the crease on a feed from Moore with 10:10 to play. High Point won the next face off thanks to an illegal procedure on Schwenk, but Rode notched his first save of the game in dramatic fashion off a look from Colin Zimmerman on the door step.
High Point would keep possession, and Rode got another save before the Panthers finally broke through with their first goal at 8:36 remaining in the first quarter. After some back-and-forth action — including a man-up opportunity for Virginia — High Point’s Jake Schleppy pulled the Panthers within one at 3-2 with 3:35 to play.
Virginia appeared to have won the ensuing face off, but the ball traded hands several time at midfield before High Point corralled it and came up with an equalizer on the broken play. The Panthers continued their run, adding a fourth goal and taking the lead with a dive (a recently re-added rule) to make it 4-3 with just over 2:02 to play in the first quarter.
The Hoos had possession but couldn’t even get a shot off before High Point forced the turnover, giving the visitors the last possession before the half. Grayson Sallade caused a turnover and Laviano got one last look on cage, but he put it right in the Troutner’s stick.
With High Point man up, Virginia was flagged twice. Before the penalties could be assessed, one of High Point’s players was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for running his mouth. Virginia couldn’t take advantage and even things up, and High Point extended their lead to two with 9:10 to play thanks to another goal from Schleppy.
Sallade ended the five-goal run by the Panthers with a transition score off of a tricky ground ball in traffic from Kyle Kology. The Cavaliers won the ensuing face off, but couldn’t even the score until their next possession when Laviano once again finished the quick-stick on the crease. Moore assisted the goal with 6:01 to play in the first half.
High Point committed their third face off violation of the half on the next face off, giving Virginia a chance to re-take the lead man up. Two shots went wide and the third was backed up by the Panthers, and High Point easily cleared the ball up field. Asher Nolting notched his second goal of the day to break the tie once more and give HPU the 6-5 lead with 4:26 left in the half.
Virginia wasted no time tying things back up as Laviano got the first half hat trick just 14 seconds later. The Cavaliers re-took the lead off of Aitken’s second goal with 3:00 left in the half, assisted by first year Jeff Conner. Petey LaSalla won the next face off for the Hoos and got a good look on goal, but High Point’s keeper got a save and Nolting scored to tie things at seven with just over two minutes to play in the half. To add insult to injury, Virginia’s Jared Conners was called for a penalty after the goal, giving High Point a chance to take control once more.
The Cavalier defense stood strong, withstanding several shots from the Panthers before causing a turnover and clearing the ball as the penalty released. Virginia had a chance to take the lead heading into the half, but couldn’t convert as the two squads entered the break knotted at seven.
Laviano led the Hoos with three first half goals, and Aitken added two more. Virginia held the advantage in face offs (9-6), turnovers (9-13), and ground balls (20-19). Both keepers had six saves.
High Point held the ball for the first 2:45 of the second half before a Rode save led to a successful clear by the Hoos. Virginia took the lead on a goal from Moore as he rolled the crease with seven seconds left on the shot clock to put the Hoos up 8-7 with 10:55 to play.
The Panthers evened the score eight seconds later on a quick face off win and impeccable ball movement. Virginia returned the favor, scoring back-to-back goals off the face offs with 10:38 and 10:30 left, respectively.
High Point made it 10-9 with 8:05 left in the third quarter on a goal from Dalton Silver with eight seconds left on the shot clock. Virginia won the ensuing face off, but Moore’s pass was picked by the Panther goalie and High Point cleared the ball. After a couple empty possessions by both teams, Nolting scored a highlight reel behind-the-back goal to tie things at 10.
The Panthers had a chance to re-take the lead, but Will Rock picked a pass and started a transition play that ended with Laviano putting the Hoos up 11-10 with 2:41 left in the third.
High Point tied it up at 11 on a shot that ricocheted right back to the attackman after Rode saved the initial attempt off his shoe. Moore’s third goal of the game came off of a broken play as Kraus’s save was blocked but Laviano checked the ball free of the defender and right to Moore on the doorstep. That goal gave Virginia a slim 12-11 lead heading into the 4th quarter.
It looked as though Aitken put Virginia up by two, but the refs thought the shot went off the pipe. The Panthers got a run out and goal in transition to tie the game once again at 12. A push called on Rock gave High Point a man advantage for 30 seconds, then got a two man advantage for 18 seconds of that. The Hoos somehow withstood both, causing the turnover. As Rode was going to clear, he took a cross-check to the chest and the ball went to the High Point attackman with a look at the open cage and the lead with 7:09 left.
Virginia won the face off, but Troutner came up with his 15th save of the game and kept the Hoos from tying things up. Rode held off a low shot from Nolting with under 10 seconds left on the shot clock, but a turnover on the offensive end gave the ball back to the Panthers with 3:36 left. The Hoos had their chances on offense, but bad shooting and untimely errors let High Point take a 14-12 lead with 2:02 to play.
Conner gave the Hoos a glimmer of hope with a goal at 1:04 to cut High Point’s lead to one. High Point won the face off, but Rode intercepted a pass and got the ball to Conrad and the Hoos took a timeout with 12 seconds left and the ball. Moore got a good look at it, but Troutner’s 17th and final save of the game iced it for the Panthers.
Next up, Virginia hits the road to play No. 19 Princeton on Saturday.