RADFORD, Va. — Sophomore Jacky Kessler scored to give the High Point University women’s soccer team the lead for most of the game, but three late goals – two by Radford – sent the game into overtime and it ended in a 2-2 tie on Thursday night in Radford, Va. Junior Kelli Joline also scored for the Panthers.
“Getting a point on the road is good but letting up that lead late in the game is certainly disappointing,” said HPU head coach Marty Beall. “Radford is a difficult team to score on so I was pleased we were able to get two goals tonight. I was disappointed with our team defense, making some mistakes that led to the two late goals. We need to move forward and get ready for another tough test against VMI on Saturday.”
It was the Big South opener for both teams. With the tie, HPU moved to 1-4-5 on the season while Radford went to 4-2-1 overall.
Kessler’s goal gave the Panthers the lead for 51 minutes before the three late scores. Radford struck first when Asyla Mitchell scored at 82:51. Mitchell took the ball all the way from the left sideline, through the High Point defense and got a great shot in the air off the far post and in. It was her first career goal.
The Panthers took the lead back at 86:03 when Jenny Butler sent a great bouncing pass far ahead to Joline. Joline broke past the defense and shot the ball past Brown and into the far side of the net to put the Panthers on top 2-1.
HPU’s late lead was short lived as Radford came right back on its next possession. Rachel Conway took a long shot and the ball went into the top right corner of the net. HPU goalkeeper Jesse May tried to make the save but couldn’t stop the ball in the corner as the game went to 2-2.
Radford outshot High Point 6-3 in the two overtime periods but the Panthers withstood the pressure. High Point had a solid chance in the first overtime when Taylor Parker Parker beat a Radford defender and got a hard shot on the right side of the net that Highlander goalkeeper Che Brown saved with under two minutes left in the frame. Radford’s Conway nearly had another long score in the last minute of the first OT, but her nearly-identical shot went wide right and off May’s hands.
After a strong 83 minutes of play, May left the game after colliding with a Radford player. HPU freshman Ivy Cocklereece entered and made a key save to preserve the tie, stopping a Megan Rhodes shot with 10 seconds left in the game.
Kessler got High Point on the board at 31:19 in the first half. On a Radford clear attempt, Katie Harris headed the ball back into the Highlander end, where Kessler was between two defenders. Kessler was able to get a strong shot between them from the top of the box for the score. It was her first goal of the season and third of her career.
The Panthers had three great scoring chances early in the second half but were unable get the distance they needed. The first opportunity came on a corner kick: Parker sent a great ball into the box and Amy Burch headed it just wide right. The next play was similar, coming on a free kick by Alise LeCompte. Her pass in front was headed a few feet right right by Harris.
Kessler had another good opportunity in the 53rd minute of play. She took the ball into the box on the right side and Radford’s Brown came out to challenge. Kessler beat Brown and sent the ball on net but defender Stephanie Herb sprinted in for a defensive save on the goal line.
High Point led the shot count, 24-22. May made six saves and Cocklereece stopped one shot on goal. Brown eight saves for Radford.
High Point continues Big South play against on Saturday in Lexington, Va. The game begins at 2 p.m.