• High Point earned a 1-0 win over VMI in the team’s home opener on Saturday.
• Freshman Ben Hietala scored his first collegiate goal in the 84th minute to give the Panthers the one-goal win.
• HPU outshot the Keydets by a 21-4 margin in the contest with 10 shots on target.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – Freshman Ben Hietala scored in the 84th minute to lift the High Point University men’s soccer team to a 1-0 win over VMI in the Panthers’ home opener on Saturday night.
“I thought the team executed the game plan really well tonight,” head coach EJ O’Keeffe said. “We have been working on attacking all week and we created a great number of chances tonight. I have to give VMI a lot of credit their keeper was magnificent. Ben Hietala has worked his tail off and her really deserved that goal. This was a good overall team win and we are excited to move forward with the first win under our belt.”
Hietala broke the 0-0 stalemate in the 84th minute with his first collegiate goal and the Panthers’ first goal of the season. Senior defender Erien Campbell got control of the ball in the HPU zone and dribbled forward 50 yards before sliding a pass to Hietala who finished inside the left post for the goal.
High Point came close to scoring on two earlier occasions in the second half as sophomore Ebe Kudolo appeared to have a goal in the 54th minute only to have it called back for a handball in the box and sophomore Avery Ryan
HPU controlled play from the opening whistle as the majority of the game was played in the VMI half. The Panthers outshot the Keydets, 21-4, with 10 shots on target. The High Point lead could have been much larger if not for an outstanding performance by VMI keeper Alex Guerra who made nine saves on the night.
The Panthers defense did well to limit VMI’s chances, allowing just one shot on goal in the contest. Redshirt-senior Kody Palmer made a terrific save the one time he was called on, diving low to his right to push away a shot at the post off a free kick.
High Point remains home to take on Dayton on Thursday, Sept. 10, at 7 p.m., in Vert Stadium. The Panthers earned a 2-1 road win over the Flyers last season when Yearwood scored on a free kick in extra time.