BLACKSBURG, Va. – The High Point University men’s soccer team fell on the road at Virginia Tech by a final score of 5-1 on Tuesday night in Blacksburg, Va. Junior Mamadee Nyepon scored in his fifth-straight game for the Panthers.
“It is always difficult when you lose but we have to keep things in perspective,” head coach Dustin Fonder said. “Right now we have one senior on this team and a lot of freshmen and sophomores. Our inexperience and lack of continuity caught up to us tonight. Everything we made mistakes on tonight is fixable so we just need to move forward and get prepared for our conference opener at Longwood.”
High Point took the early lead on a goal by Nyepon in the eighth minute to put the Panthers ahead 1-0. Freshman Dolu Oyewole gained possession of the ball in the HPU defensive third and took two touches before hitting a through ball 50 yards to Nyepon. The forward shrugged off his marker and beat the keeper with a low shot to the right. The goal was his sixth of the season.
Virginia Tech tied the game in the 12th minute on a goal by Robert Alberti. The Hokies hit a cross from the right edge of the box to Alberti at the far post. The midfielder hit a looping shot back to the right post on his first touch for the score.
Tech took the lead nine minutes later with a close-range header by Andre Thomas. Alberti found space on the left flank and hit a cross back to the center of the box. Thomas made a run up the middle of the field and connected with his head on a full sprint to beat Palmer and put Virginia Tech up 2-1.
Alberti scored his second goal of the game and the eventual game winner for Virginia Tech in the 52nd minute when he picked up a loose ball just outside the HPU penalty area and finished with a shot from 20 yards. The High Point center backs converged on a Tech attacker at the edge of the box, but the ball popped out to Alberti for the goal.
After Virginia Tech scored in the 60th minute and again in the 79th to go ahead by a margin of 5-1, freshman Renato Punyed notched one last goal for HPU in the 89th minute to bring the final score to 5-2. Punyed drew a foul just out of the Tech penalty area and took the free kick, curling a right-footed shot off the left post and into the net for his first collegiate goal.
Virginia Tech finished the game with a 20-17 edge in shots and a slim 8-7 advantage in shots on goal. High Point ended the contest with a 10-7 advantage in corner kicks. Redshirt-sophomore Kody Palmer made two saves in the game while taking the loss for the Panthers.
High Point drops to 2-4-0 on the season with the loss to the Hokies who improve to 3-1-1.
The Panthers open conference play this weekend when they travel to Farmville, Va., to take on Longwood University on Saturday, Sept. 20. The game will kick off at 7 p.m.