By Henry Molski, Sports Editor
Saturday, Feb. 2 was a historic day for High Point University athletics. For the first time ever in Division I, men took the field wearing cleats and helmets. Fans came out to a packed stadium to support their first ever full-contact team. No, these weren’t football fans that came to watch. High Point was competing in NCAA men’s lacrosse.
Despite the chilled temperatures in the thirties, students, friends and families packed Vert Stadium to cheer on their new athletics team. The big day for the university was not only limited to the lacrosse game, either. Fans that showed up to the game early received exciting and unexpected news from the athletics department.
A brand new, state-of-the-art stadium facility was also announced and displayed on the big screen at Vert. The new facility will house new locker rooms for the men’s and women’s lacrosse among many other things. The new building will replace the current Vert stadium center and stretch the full length of the seating section at the field.
Also before the game, Prowler the Panther made a surprise entrance riding in on a giant, green motorcycle. The HPU Toccatatones were also in attendance to sing the National Anthem. With all of the pregame festivities finished, it was finally time for HPU to take the field.
Luckily for all of the fans in attendance, they received a game to remember. Redshirt-freshman Brendan Montrello recorded the first program goal for the Panthers and Dan Lomas led the Panther scoring with five key goals. In the end, however, the Panthers were unable to catch the Blue Hens of Delaware.
The game was never out of reach, though. With a final score of 12-10, the Panthers managed to keep the seasoned Blue Hens backpedaling until the last few seconds.
“I am happy with the effort even if I am not happy with the result,” said head coach Jon Torpey to HPU Sports Information “Delaware is a really good team and our guys fought the entire game.”
Even lacrosse writers from around the nation were taking note of the impressive debut after the game.
“Overall, it’s extremely impressive to see a first year program like High Point compete with an established program like Delaware,” said Connor Wilson of LaxAllstars.com.
Wilson would later add that people should “keep an eye on” HPU this year as they can certainly continue to make noise in their first year as a program.
One thing is certain about the men’s lacrosse team: they are here to compete with the best of them in 2013.