HPU Women’s Soccer Draws #4 Virginia In The 2014 NCAA Tournament

Posted by Press Release on November 10, 2014 at 6:53 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s soccer team will travel to Charlottesville, Virginia to take on the No. 4-ranked Cavaliers of the University of Virginia in the first round of the 2014 NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship on Friday, Nov. 14, at 7 p.m.

High Point earned the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament after winning its fifth Big South Women’s Soccer Championship on Sunday. The Panthers advanced past top-seeded Liberty on penalty kicks, 5-4, after playing the Flames to a 2-2 draw. Freshman Alex Persiani made two saves in penalty kicks and redshirt-freshman Bailey Beattie converted her kick in the sixth round to clinch the championship for HPU.

The Panthers are now tied with Radford for the most Big South Women’s Soccer Championships with five. The Panthers previously clinched the tournament title in 2003, 2007, 2009 and 2010. This year’s championship marks the fourth time that HPU has clinched in penalty kicks.

Senior Jacky Kessler was named the Big South Tournament MVP after recording five points on two goals and an assist in the three tournament games. Kessler scored both High Point goals in the Panthers’ 2-1 double-overtime semifinal victory against No. 2-seed Coastal Carolina and assisted on the 87th-minute game-tying goal by freshman Bri Jean-Charles in the Big South Championship game.

High Point enters the NCAA Tournament on an eight-game unbeaten streak, going 7-0-1 in those eight games. The Panthers are 12-4-4 overall this season, setting a new HPU Div. I single-season record for overall wins. High Point’s defense has played a key role in the Panthers’ success, having allowed one or fewer goals in 15 games this season, including 11 of the past 13.

This will be High Point’s fifth trip to the NCAA Tournament and the first since 2010. HPU is 0-4-0 in its previous four trips to the NCAA tournament with all four losses coming to ACC opponents. The Panthers faced North Carolina in 2003, 2007 and 2009 and Maryland in 2010.

HPU has performed well in its two previous tournament appearances under head coach Marty Beall. High Point lost to North Carolina by a score of 1-0 in 2009, the closest score line in any tournament game for the eventual national champion. The following year, the Panthers carried a 1-1 tie into the 70th minute at Maryland before ultimately losing, 4-1.

Virginia is ranked fourth in the nation and is 18-2-0 overall on the season. The Cavaliers earned the top seed in the 2014 ACC Women’s Soccer Championship and advanced to the championship game before falling to Florida State by a score of 1-0. The Seminoles are the only team to earn a victory over UVA this season.

The Cavaliers feature an explosive offense that has scored 65 goals in 20 games in 2014. US Women’s National Team member Morgan Brian orchestrates the UVA offense in the midfield along with Danielle Colaprico, who leads the ACC with 15 assists, while Makenzy Doniak ranks among the nation’s top scorers with 14 goals and 36 points. Eight different Virginia players have double-digit points on the season.

Friday will mark the first-ever meeting between High Point and Virginia.

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