HPU men’s soccer opens season with 5-1 win over East Tennessee State

Posted by Press Release on August 26, 2016 at 10:29 pm under College | Comments are off for this article

• High Point picked up a 5-1 win over East Tennessee State at home to open the 2016 season on Friday.
• Freshman Siggi Benonysson had two goals and an assist in the win while fellow freshman Bana Ganidekam had two assists on the night.
• The win by HPU is the Panthers’ first to open a season since 2012 and their first ever against ETSU.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s soccer team burst out of the gate with a 5-1 win over East Tennessee State in the Panthers’ season opener on Friday night at Vert Stadium. Freshman Siggi Benonysson had two goals and an assist in the win for HPU.

“The boys did really well tonight,” head coach EJ O’Keeffe said. “I thought we started off the game on the front foot for the first 25 minutes or so and we found three goals. Unfortunately, we didn’t continue that and ETSU got a goal back. We made a few adjustments at halftime that allowed us to score two more goals and kill the game off. This is a great way to start the year, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

The win by High Point is the Panthers’ first to open a season since 2012 when HPU went on the road to Elon and came away with a 4-2 victory. It is also the team’s first ever win against ETSU in three meetings.

High Point jumped out to a quick lead with three goals in the first 25 minutes of action to go ahead, 3-0. Two freshmen combined for the first goal in the 12th minute as Benonysson delivered a cross to the far post from the top right corner of the box and Ryan Inman finished with a header past the ETSU keeper for his first collegiate tally.

The Panthers’ second goal came just seven minutes later when redshirt-sophomore Justen Shear headed in the rebound from a header off the post by freshman Bana Ganidekam. The freshman headed a cross from junior Chris Ramsell that hit off the post right to Shear who headed it home.

Benonysson got his first of two goals on the night in the 25th minute, scoring on a rebound off a saved shot by senior Renato Punyed. The midfielder ripped a shot from 30-yards out that skidded low and forced a diving save. Benonysson then slid in just in front of the Buccaneers’ keeper to tap it home, putting HPU in front, 3-0.

East Tennessee got a goal back in the 36th minute when John Lucchesi capitalized on a rebound, scoring from just in front of goal. The Buccaneers got a corner kick and Javier Alberto hit a bicycle kick that caromed off the post then off the legs of Lucchesi into the net.

The goal did not derail the young Panther squad as High Point continued to push forward and in the 55th minute Benonysson scored his second of the night to put High Point up 4-1. The goal came off a rebound yet again as Benonysson scored on the doorstep after a shot by sophomore Johnny Fenwick
The final goal of the night was scored by the Panthers in the 62nd minute when redshirt-senior Erien Campbell got in on the action with a header goal off a corner kick. Ganidekam hit an out-swinging kick from the corner to the near post where Campbell hit a glancing header to the far post to put HPU up, 5-1.

High Point totaled 16 shots on the night with eight on frame compared to 12 and four for the Buccaneers. HPU also finished with an 8-3 advantage in corner kicks. Redshirt-freshman Keegan Meyer got the start in goal and made three saves to earn his first collegiate win.

The Panthers return to action on Friday, Sept. 2, when they play welcome Detroit to Vert Stadium as part of a weekend tournament that will be co-hosted by HPU and Elon. Kickoff for the game is set for 7 p.m.

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