HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s soccer team overcame an early 1-0 deficit to pick up a 5-1 win over Longwood University in the team’s Big South opener on Saturday night at Vert Stadium. With the win HPU stays undefeated with a 6-0-0 record on the season.
“I am really proud of our performance tonight,” head coach Dustin Fonder said. “I thought it was a total team effort. We really came in focused and were happy to leave the game with three points and a conference win. Our goal is to content for a conference title and to do that you have to protect home field which we did tonight.”
Five different players scored for High Point on the night. Four different players had an assists in the contest led by defender Todd Ray who picked up two. It is the third time in six games this season that HPU has scored at least four goals in a game.
The Panthers controlled play from the opening whistle, putting up five shots in the first 15 minutes of the game but in the 19th minute the Lancers stole an early lead with a goal against the run of play by Anthony Ugorji. Sam Yardley found space on the left flank and hit a low cross to the far post where Ugorji ran onto the pass and scored from six-yards out.
The goal put High Point on its heels for a brief period but the team righted itself and soon tied the game with a tally from senior Shane Malcolm in the 26th minute. Malcolm deftly brought down an attempted Lancer clearance in the box and took a quick touch to the right before ripping a shot past the keeper and into the net from 15-yards out.
High Point took the lead just under four minutes later on freshman Erien Campbell’s first collegiate goal. The Panthers possessed the ball at midfield and moved it to the left side to Ray. The senior center back took one look into the box before lofting a 40-yard pass to the right post. Campbell got a step on his defender and lifted up to meet the pass with his head, lofting a shot over the on-rushing keeper and into the net.
The Panthers continued to control the game in the second half, scoring a third goal just 23 seconds into the period off the foot of Leon Carby to go up 3-1. Once again Ray spurred the play out of the midfield hitting a ball into the box from 50-yards out. Sophomore Mamadee Nyepon flicked the ball on with a header at the edge of the penalty area to Carby who ran in uncovered at the left post. The midfielder brought the ball down and unleashed a shot from just in front of goal for his second score of the season.
High Point’s offensive onslaught continued in the 53rd minute as the Panthers found the back of the net again to push the lead to 4-1. HPU earned a free kick just over 20-yards away from goal and senior Shawn Sloan stepped over the ball. The midfielder skillfully hit a curling shot around the Lancer wall and inside the right post for the goal.
Nyepon finished the scoring for the Panthers in the 58th minute with an authoritative header to make the score 5-1. Malcolm carried the ball to the edge of the penalty area, drawing three defenders to him before sending a square ball to Sloan at the right corner of the box. Sloan settled the ball before hitting a curling ball to Nyepon on the near post. The forward got position on his defender before rising up and hammering the ball into the net.
HPU finished the game with a 23-5 advantage in shots with 11 of its 23 shots on frame. The Panthers also earned seven corner kicks to Longwood’s one on the night. Redshirt-freshman Kody Palmer picked up the win in net for High Point.
With the win, HPU improves to 6-0-0 overall and a1-0-0 in the Big South on the season. The Panthers are now undefeated in their previous 11 games stretching back to HPU’s last game against Longwood on Oct. 25, 2011. Longwood falls to 2-5-0 overall and 2-4-0 in the Big South in its first year as part of the conference.
High Point will continue its current home stand on Tuesday, Sept. 18, when the team will play host to Jacksonville University out of the Atlantic Sun at 7 p.m.. The Dolphins enter the game still looking for their first win, with an 0-5-1 record on the season, but coming off a 2-2 tie at Central Florida. The game will mark the first-ever meeting between the two programs.