Midwest Mayhem as Rival Kentucky Hosts Louisville

#2 Kentucky hosts conference and national rival #7 Louisville this Sunday in Lexington. While technically coming in as the underdog, the 2023 Final Four Cards were 2-0 against the Wildcats last spring winning their regular season matchup 14-12 then the Midwest Conference Championship 14-6.

 In their last two games, Louisville handled MCLA MTSU as Jackson Graham had 4 goals and an assist, Luke Truffer went 3 and 1 while Bo Wigginton, Hayden Carr and Preston Curtis (1 assist) each had two goals. In their win versus UTC, Luke Truffer scored 5 goals while Bo Wigginton pitched in 2 goals to go along with 5 assists. Kentucky for their part, took care of Western Kentucky 14-2 behind Dayne Goltz’s 4 goals and also beat MCLA Division I Indiana 9-8. Louisville played Indiana too as the Hoosiers earned the 11-5 win. Smarting from that loss, Louisville came back in their next game to upset NCLL Division I Cincinnati 9-8 in overtime as Truffer scored a hat trick and Wigginton had two on the day, none bigger than the game winner in the extra session.

Initially, Kentucky had the hot hand in the rivalry while the past three years has seen it all Louisville’s way. As one of the Nationally Ranked Top Rivalries in all of college athletics but especially in the NCLL, there will not be a better spot than to be on the sidelines of this epic early season matchup.

“Honestly the guys have bought in to something bigger than themselves. Last year we watched Louisville end our season and add to the fire of this rivalry. Seeing our seniors play their last game to a rival was a feeling we don’t want to experience again. This season we are blessed to be loaded with talent at each position, and we are competing day in and day out to do something this program hasn’t done in recent history. Our goal to achieve these aspirations starting Sunday”, noted Wildcat President Bryce Moad.

As Louisville Head Coach Ryan McCauley stated, “The expectation is for our team to play hard within our system and represent the name on the front of the jersey. We strive to continue the standard set by current and former players as we know that being able to represent the University of Louisville and compete at the collegiate level is a privilege and an opportunity that’s not taken for granted.”

Head Coach Ben Ternosky adeptly added in, “It’s the first game circled on both calendars. No matter the record the game always finishes close. Kentucky has owned the Midwest for a long time and Louisville has been crowned Midwest Champs the last 3 years and is 6-0 vs us during that time. This past fall, Kentucky beat Louisville 8-5 while undermanned but is full strength heading into Sunday.”

High Point's stock continues to rise

After reaching the National Tournament in 2022, High Point advanced to the ’23 National Championship and with the Panthers returning all of their starters, hopes are high of a return trip with a much different outcome.

“Heading into the season having a core group of leaders allows us to set a precedent on and off the field,” said M. Graham Wesel, High Point’s team president. “We all know what is expected if we want to continue the success that sprouted last season. It is just a matter of getting everyone to buy into this culture before we truly kickstart our playoff run.”

The Panthers are off to a quick start with an 8-7 victory over MCLA DII Virginia Tech and a 10-9 win over Appalachian State. Down 5-1 versus the Tar Heels this past weekend, High Point came all the way back before falling 6-5 to North Carolina in a nail biter. All of this out of conference competition will only benefit the Panthers once beginning league play. With Blue Ridge and Tidewater Conference foes in VCU and Richmond awaiting and the Beltway Bash, High Point knows what lies ahead.

“The keys to success were sticking to our team culture, game plan, and keeping level heads,” Wesel said. “Throughout the game, there were multiple lead changes and momentum swings. Instead of pointing fingers, we came together and collected ourselves as a unit. That is what we are going to lean on as we pick up the tempo of our schedule in the second half of the year.”

The attack is led by Jarrett Meibaum, who has amassed at least 3 points every game, and  sophomore Jack Sundin who has at least 2 caused turnovers riding each game.

Long-stick middie Stefan Shapiro Jr. is a solid defender who draws the top offensive player each game. Fellow midfielder Zane Cohen has produced two or more points in every game this spring.

Goalie Adam Rabb has been consistent between the pipes allowing a 8 GAA as he has kept HPU in contention throughout each contest.

Wesel couldn’t take face-offs in the playoffs last season due to a broken hand after winning 80% of his draws during the regular season.

Wesel is still healing but expects to be back in the mix.

“I am chomping at the bit to get back there and compete with my teammates,” he said.

The Panthers also have some talented freshmen on the roster ready to make an immediate impact. High Point has a challenging schedule but the Panthers have the talent and depth to pencil in the trip north to College Park come May 4th and 5th.

“I feel as though a lot of teams are in the same position where they returned a good portion of their roster,” Wesel said. “Just like us, everyone is getting bigger, faster, smarter as a team. So that means it will be that much harder to get back there. However, we brought in some talented freshmen who can make an impact.”

Preseason Division II Top 25

1. West Chester
2. High Point
3. Union
4. UMass B
5. Georgetown
6. Kentucky
7. Binghamton
8. Louisville
9. Williamson Trade
10. Electric City
11. Drexel
12. RIT
13. TCNJ
14. Marist
15. Kent State
16. Bryant
17. Duquesne
18. Brown
19. Kutztown
20. St. Joseph’s
21. Bucknell
22. Richmond
23. Radford
24. Millersville
25. Tufts

Preseason Division I Top 20

1. Ohio State
2. Maryland
3. Navy
4. Virginia
5. Notre Dame
6. Loyola
7. Penn State
8. Fairfield
9. Villanova
10. Delaware
11. Fordham
12. UMass
13. Cortland
14. Hudson Hellfire
15. Vermont
16. Penn
17. Providence
18. Cincinnati
19. Sacred Heart
20. Holy Cross

Others Considered: Ohio University, Towson, Salisbury, Lehigh, Rutgers, Syracuse, Albany, Cornell, Hofstra, Lafayette

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September 27, 2023 (CHITTENANGO) – Powell Lacrosse and the National College Lacrosse League (NCLL) announced a three year partnership beginning in the 2024 season. This multifaceted collaboration is set to redefine the lacrosse experience for college athletes and fans alike, bringing an unprecedented level of excitement for the sport. Read More

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