CHARLESTON, S.C. – The High Point University women’s soccer team went on the road and picked up a convincing 4-0 win over Charleston Southern in Charleston, S.C. on Thursday afternoon. Sophomore Jacky Kessler led an impressive HPU attack with two goals and two assists on the day.
“What I am most proud of today was how we started the game and how we finished it,” head coach Marty Beall said. “We did not give them a shot until the 30th minute and by then we already had 12 shots and two goals. Then at the end of the game when they were throwing numbers forward I thought we dealt with that really well. We got a lot of players minutes today and I was very pleased with how the subs played off the bench. I was also very proud of the way our defense performed in picking up its third-straight shutout.”
High Point put a great amount of pressure on the CSU backline from the opening whistle, notching seven shots, including six on goal, in the first 15 minutes. The pressure finally broke through in the 16th minute when Kessler scored her first goal of the day to put the Panthers ahead, 1-0. HPU won a 50-50 ball in the midfield and junior Taylor Parker hit a long pass to Kessler at the right post. The forward took a touch back towards the middle before scoring from just a couple yards in front of the net.
The Panthers continued to press forward and doubled their lead in the 28th minute off a goal by senior Danielle Schepler. Junior Kelli Joline carried the ball down the left flank and whipped a cross into the box. Kessler controlled the ball in the penalty area and dropped a pass back to Schepler who placed a shot into the upper 90 for her fourth goal of the season.
Just one minute after High Point’s second goal, Charleston Southern almost got one back with a shot from distance that hit off the crossbar. The rebound nearly bounced over the line but was cleared away by junior Sammy Vercellino and then controlled by freshman keeper Ivy Cocklereece.
High Point increased its lead to 3-0 early in the second half when Joline headed home a cross in the 54th minute. Kessler dropped a pass back to senior Jenny Butler who sent the ball into the box on her first touch. The CSU keeper was caught in between coming out and staying on her line allowing Joline to run onto the ball and head it into the net for her fourth goal of the season.
Kessler closed out the scoring for High Point with her second goal of the game in the 74th minute, scoring off a corner to put HPU up by a score of 4-0. Schepler delivered the corner into the box where it dropped to the ground just in front of goal. Kessler pounced on the loose ball and nailed it into the back of the net for the score. The two goals by Kessler give the sophomore six on the season.
The Panthers’ six assists on the day gives them 35 on the season which ties the HPU Div. I single-season record set in 2004.
High Point finished with 30 shots on the afternoon including 17 on frame. Kessler led HPU with an impressive 11 shots in the contest. Cocklereece and junior Jesse May combined to stop eight shots in the game to help the Panthers record their third-straight shutout. High Point has now allowed just seven goals in nine conference games this season.
The win by High Point increases its win streak to six straight. HPU improves to 8-4-6 overall and remains undefeated in conference play with a 7-0-2 record in Big South contests. The seven conference wins is a new record for the Panthers, eclipsing the previous record of six that they achieved in each of the past two seasons. Charleston Southern drops to 6-8-1 overall and 4-5-0 in the Big South with the loss.
High Point continues its season-ending three-game road trip on Saturday, Oct. 20, when it heads to Conway, S.C., to take on Coastal Carolina at 12 p.m. CCU is currently 8-7-0 overall and 5-3-0 in the Big South. The Panthers hold a slim advantage in the all-time series with a 7-6-2 record in 15 meetings. Last season, HPU picked up a 4-1 win over the Chanticleers at Vert Stadium.