HPU Men’s Soccer Falls To Winthrop On Penalties In Big South Championship

Posted by Press Release on November 16, 2015 at 6:28 am under College | Comments are off for this article

• High Point fell in penalty kicks against Winthrop after drawing the Eagles in the Big South Championship game.
• Redshirt-senior Kody Palmer made six saves to pick up his eighth shutout of the season.
• The Panthers finish the 2015 season with an 8-6-7 overall record.

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The High Point University men’s soccer team fell in penalty kicks to top-seeded Winthrop, 3-1, after playing the Eagles to a 0-0 draw in the Big South Championship Game on Sunday afternoon in Greensboro, N.C.

“I have to give this team a lot of credit,” head coach EJ O’Keeffe said. “Our character and resolve was fantastic in a gritty game. It wasn’t the prettiest game at times but tournament games often aren’t. We were on the right side of penalties on Tuesday but the wrong side today. It’s a tough way to lose a match and end your season. We will be better moving forward because of this.”

The game between High Point and Winthrop remained scoreless after 90 minutes of regulation and 20 minutes of overtime, forcing penalty kicks. After both teams converted in the first round, redshirt-senior keeper Kody Palmer dove low and to his right to stop the Eagles’ second attempt. The Panthers could not take advantage though as sophomore Ebe Kudolo hit his attempt off the crossbar.

The shootout score remained 1-1 after the third round as both teams saw their attempts saved. Winthrop took the lead in the fourth round when James Skonicki made his shot and sophomore Avery Ryan saw his shot to the right saved. Max Hasenstab then secured the win for the Eagles with a conversion in the fifth round.

The game between High Point and Winthrop was an up-and-down affair throughout the afternoon with both teams generating dangerous scoring chances. Palmer made a nice save in the 30th minute, leaping up to deny Patrick Barnes. The Panthers had two good looks on goal as Ryan had a shot run wide of the post in the 40th minute and Kudolo followed suit in the 42nd.

In the second half, Winthrop’s Jordan Stoddart hit a shot wide of the post in the 75th minute and Hasenstab was denied with a team save when Palmer was caught out in the 82nd minute. Ryan nearly won the game for High Point in the 85th minute when he ran onto a ball over the top and ripped a shot to the far post that forced a diving stop.

The Panther keeper came up big in overtime as well with a sprawling save in the 99th minute to preserve the scoreless stalemate.

Palmer made six saves on the day to record his eighth shutout of the season. His 0.83 goals-against average is a new HPU Div. I single-season record. The redshirt-senior leaves High Point as the Div. I career record holder with 24 clean sheets in four seasons.

High Point is now 0-2-1 in three Big South Championship games. The Panthers finish the season with an 8-6-7 overall record. It is the eighth-straight season that the Panthers have finished over .500. Winthrop moves to 11-6-2 in 2015 and advance on the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship.

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