Kirkup Scores Five as High Point Defeats VMI

HIGH POINT, N.C. - Graduate student Stevie Kirkup scored five goals to lead High Point University to a 9-8 win over VMI on Saturday afternoon at Vert Stadium. Up by five to start the third quarter, the Panthers held off a late Keydet run.

"We knew this was going to be a tough game but the guys kept playing hard and got the win," said HPU head coach Jon Torpey. "Conference games are going to be tough every time, we just need to stay after it and play hard for 60 minutes."

High Point improved to 5-2 overall and 2-0 in Atlantic Sun play with the victory. VMI fell to 1-6 and 0-1 in the A-Sun. It was the first-ever meeting between the two schools.

The Panthers outshot VMI 16-8 in the first quarter, including two off the post to begin the game, but VMI's Dan Bull scored the first goal and it was tied 1-1 after 15 minutes. The Panthers broke it open with five unanswered goals in the second quarter, including two by Kirkup. Matt Thistle scored one goal and assisted on four during the 6-0 run that gave the Panthers a 6-1 lead at halftime.

VMI's run began early in the second half as Mickey Hofmeister scored with 13:02 on the clock and Bull scored with 10:52 remaining. Hofmeister set up Brad Biondello for a goal with 5:03 left in the first half to make it a 7-5 game. Sophomore Zach Price scored in the closing seconds of the third quarter, giving HPU a three-goal cushion going into the final frame.

VMI got within one, stealing momentum in the fourth quarter. Dale Mattice scored with 11:48 left. Mitch Wilson won the ensuing faceoff and went down the field to score just 10 seconds later.

High Point clung to its one-goal lead for 10 minutes until Kirkup scored his fifth goal of the game on an assist from Brad James with 1:11 remaining. VMI's Mattice scored with 38 seconds to go, but the Panthers held off the Keydets' push in the closing seconds to make it a 9-8 final.

Kirkup, who came to HPU after earning his undergraduate degree from North Carolina last year, had a goal and an assist against Michigan on Wednesday before his five-goal, one-assist effort against VMI. He also had two ground balls against the Keydets. Sophomore Dan Lomas scored twice and added an assist, two ground balls and two caused turnovers. HPU goalie Austin Geisler made nine saves.

Bull, Hofmeister and Mattice each scored twice for VMI and Hofmeister added an assist. Tyler Prasnicki had four ground balls and two caused turnovers and goalie Evan Windisch had 13 saves.

HPU outshot VMI, 43-22, in the game.

High Point's five-game homestand continues next Saturday when the Panthers host UMBC at noon at Vert Stadium.

* * * *

HIGH POINT, N.C. A furious second half rally for Virginia Military Institute fell just short Saturday afternoon. The Keydets dropped their Atlantic Sun Conference opener at High Point 9-8, despite out-scoring the Panthers 7-3 in the second half.

High Point (5-2, 2-0 A-Sun) utilized a five-goal second quarter to take a 6-1 halftime lead. But the Keydets rallied in the third, scoring three unanswered goals to open the period. The Keydets (1-6, 0-1 A-Sun) again out-scored High Point in the fourth 3-1, but it was the second quarter that helped the Panthers keep the edge.

VMI had a balanced scoring effort, with Mickey Hofmeister, Dan Bull and Dale Mattice all score two goals. Brad Biondello and Mitch Wilson potted one each. Hofmeister and sophomore Gage Snowbarger tallied assists, Hofmeister's to Biondello and Snowbarger's to Hofmeister.

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2014-03-08



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