HIGH POINT, N.C. – Junior Taylor Parker scored in the 104th minute of double overtime to propel the High Point University women’s soccer team to a 2-1 win over Gardner-Webb on Saturday night at Vert Stadium. With the win, HPU remains undefeated in Big South play this season.
“I am very pleased with the resiliency the team showed out there tonight,” head coach Marty Beall said. “We created numerous chances throughout the game that just weren’t falling our way for awhile there. You have to give credit to Gardner-Webb for the competitive game they gave us. I can’t speak enough about how well our team came out and responded following halftime. I am excited to get over the hump of winning in overtime and to get three points in conference play.”
The game-winning goal came on a loose ball situation following a scrum in the middle of the box. A free kick was headed on into the box right in front of the goal by junior Becca Hemby. A scramble developed as redshirt-junior Meghan Krasnow battled several GWU defenders inside the six-yard box. The ball popped loose and rolled out to the right side of the box to Parker. The junior controlled the ball and hit a low line shot past the keeper for the win.
The Panthers improve to 3-4-6 overall and 2-0-2 in Big South play with Saturday’s win. HPU has now played seven double-overtime games in 2012 with Saturday marking the first win by High Point in extra time.
The Panthers leaped out to an early lead with a goal by senior Janay Whittaker in the eighth minute. Junior Becca Hemby hit a looping pass over the backline to Whittaker who made a run through the GWU defense. The senior got on the ball and slid a low shot past the onrushing keeper to put HPU up by a goal.
Gardner-Webb tied the game with a goal against the run of play by Samantha Gutierrez in the 23rd minute. Gutierrez found space just outside the box and hit a shot to the upper right corner of goal to make the score 1-1.
HPU had several dangerous scoring chances during the second half but was unable to deposit the ball into the back of the net. Senior Jenny Butler hit a long-range shot that was saved off the crossbar in the 50th minute and Hemby hit a header shot off the left post in the 68th minute. Hemby and Whittaker also each had open looks from inside of 10-yards that managed to run just wide of frame.
With the score tied after 90 minutes the two teams went into extra time where HPU outshot Gardner-Webb 8-2 before the Parker goal. GWU keeper Amy Schmitt kept the Runnin’ Bulldogs in the game with four saves in overtime.
High Point controlled play throughout the game and finished with a 33-8 advantage in shots including a 12-3 edge in shots on goal. The Panthers locked down GWU after halftime, holding the Runnin’ Bulldogs to just four shots and just one on frame. Hemby led HPU with a career-high 10 shots on the night while Parker added a career-high seven with five on target.
The Panthers will continue their current home stand on Thursday, Oct. 4, when the team welcomes Presbyterian College to Vert Stadium. HPU is 3-3-1 all-time against the Blue Hose including a road loss in the season finale last season. Kickoff for the game is set for 7 p.m.