NCAA: High Point wins back-and-forth contest over Bellarmine

Asher Nolting and goaltender Tim Troutner Jr. lead High Point to the field. (Photo credit: Laura Kupsey)

It was a wet one in Louisville, KY as the High Point Panthers secured a conference road win over the Bellarmine Knights, edging them 16-15. This one was a back-and-forth battle from the get-go and it went right down to the wire. A big third quarter run was the game changer for High Point that helped them secure the win, their second one-goal win in a row and fifth of the season.

High Point was led by star attackman Asher Nolting who tallied seven points (3G/4A) in the win. Sean Coughlin and Koby Russell each had four points (3G/1A) for the Panthers while Chris Young scored three goals. Tim Troutner Jr. was stellar in cage for the Panthers, making 14 saves in the win.

Morgan Macko and Riley Seay led Bellarmine with four points (3G/1A) each while Ian Miller had three points (2G/1A) for the Knights. In cage, Jordan Dondonyano made 13 saves as he stood on his head all game long, facing some very tough shots from a fiery High Point offense.

Bellarmine got things started right out of the gate with Riley Seay putting the Knights up 2-0 early on in the first. The Panthers struck back just a few minutes later as Sean Coughlin got them on the board first and Chris Young tied it at two for the Panthers just a few minutes later. After some more back-and-forth action to end the first quarter, the game was tied at four heading into the second.

While Bellarmine started the second out strong with a Landon Trout goal to take the lead 5-4, High Point answered with two of their own to take the lead 6-5, their first lead of the game. The Knights answered with a three-goal run that gave them an 8-6 edge late in the second quarter. Each side found the back of the net once more to make it a 9-7 Bellarmine lead heading into the half.

Just as the Knights went into the half with momentum, they came out of the half the same way. After a few possessions, Morgan Macko and Stephen Votto each scored within a minute of each other to stretch the Bellarmine lead to 11-7, the largest lead of the game.

High Point’s PJ Peters and Tyler Stinson celebrate a goal. (Photo credit: Laura Kupsey)

High Point answered fiercely with two quick goals to cut the Bellarmine lead to 11-9 with 8:47 in the third. After some great defensive play, High Point found themselves scoring once again, cutting the Bellarmine lead to 11-10. But that goal wasn’t without controversy – High Point attackman Koby Russell dove into the crease and was met with a hit from Bellarmine goalie Jordan Dondonyano. All year that has been called in the goalie’s favour, except for this time. High Point was given the goal and the flag was waived off. The stands erupted in disbelief from the Bellarmine fans and cheers from the High Point side.

That controversial goal gave the Panthers a lot of energy as they ended the third with two more goals from Griff Caligiuri and Chris Young, stretching their run to five goals and giving them a 12-11 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Bellarmine was able to start the fourth off strong, taking back the lead 13-12 with two goals from Luke Legnard and Riley Seay early on. However, High Point came storming back with a four-goal run to take a 16-13 lead with 5:25 left in the fourth. With 1:21 left in the game Morgan Mack got Bellarmine back on track, cutting the High Point lead to 16-14. JT Simonton won the faceoff and was able to grab the rebound off the initial shot to bury it past Troutner Jr., making it a one-goal game. While the Bellarmine offense had a possession in the final seconds the High Point defense stood tall and prevented any shot from even getting off, thus securing the win.

With the win the 11th ranked High Point Panthers moves to 11-2 on the season and captures a spot in the SoCon tournament. The Panthers can clinch the top seed in the SoCon tournament with a win at home against Richmond next week in their season finale.

Bellarmine drops to 3-9 on the season and will travel to Air Force next week for their last game of the season.