HPU MSOC Panthers Stay Undefeated In OT Thriller

Posted by Press Release on September 1, 2018 at 8:33 am under College | Comments are off for this article

• It was some of the usual suspects scoring for High Point men’s soccer tonight, as the Panthers defeated ETSU 3-2 in an OT finish
• Forwards Tony Pineda and Ilias Kosmidis both got on the board for the second game in a row, while Jonathan Bolanos picked up his first tally of the season on the game-winner
• HPU is now 3-3-7 in overtimes over the last three years, winning their first extra-time contest of 2018

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – The High Point University men’s soccer team had one of their hottest offensive nights of the year this Friday, scoring a campaign-best three goals in an overtime winner at ETSU. The 3-2 decision gives the Panthers a perfect 3-0 start to 2018, the best start the side has had since 2012.

After getting outshot 6-3 in the opening 45 minutes, HPU came shooting out of the gate in the second half, with a goal from freshman Tony Pineda in the 51st. The forward tallied the second of his career to open scoring against the Buccaneers, sending a strike straight above the keepers head after some tic-tac-toe passing from teammates Josh Baker and Siggi Benonysson.

The visitors would see their lead diminish less than 12 minutes later however, as hosts ETSU struck back with a goal of their own in the 63rd.

Not to be outdone, High Point’s offensive pressure continued, leading to a quick response just four minutes following. Eventual goal scorer Ilias Kosmidis forced a turnover in the attacking end before Benonysson delivered a well-placed cross to Pineda, whose mid-air heel tip landed before an awaiting Kosmidis. The Grecian native stepped around his opposing mark, slotting in his second tally of the year, into the bottom right corner.

With the game seemingly in hand, the Panthers would once again see a late goal scored, as their one-score lead was diminished for a second time in the 81st minute.

Despite their opponents’ persistency, High Point continued to trade blows with the Buccaneers in the succeeding overtime, scoring the final goal of the match in the 102nd minute. Offensive pressure once again came through for Head Coach EJ O’Keeffe’s side, as a misplaced ball by the ETSU goalkeeper fell straight to attacking forward Jonathan Bolanos. The junior responded to the opportunity by beating the last line of defense, and putting away the game-winner just inside the left post.

“Our guys showed resolve and heart tonight,” said O’Keeffe. “It was a great game to watch and our men stayed committed till the end. We were tested mentally and physically throughout the game. We stayed committed to one another and refused anything but a win. This result will payoff for our group in more ways than just in the win column, as we move forward.”

>> The ETSU defense has given up three or more goals just two times in the past two seasons, once to George Mason in 2017 and once to No. 5 Wake Forest the week previous
>> Starting off this season, the Panthers have already tallied seven goals in three games, with Tony Pineda and Ilias Kosmidis tied at two apiece
>> Pineda currently leads his team in points with the assist he added on the Kosmidis goal, while newcomer Josh Baker picked up his first helper since coming to High Point, on Pineda’s opening score

COMING UP NEXT
• The Panthers take a short trip up to Greensboro to face UNCG next Tuesday at 7 p.m.
• HPU is 10-14 against the Spartans all-time, but is currently on a six-game winning streak against the side
• The last time the Spartans beat the Panthers (2008), HPU’s current head coach EJ O’Keeffe was in the UNCG starting XI


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