• Junior Renato Punyed tallied eight shots – including three of the team’s eight shots on goal.
• Redshirt-senior Kody Palmer notched three saves in 108:51 in goal.
• The Panthers will be back at home on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. against Triad rival UNCG.
FAIRFAX, Va. – The High Point University men’s soccer team dropped a 1-0 heartbreaker in double overtime at George Mason on Saturday night.
The Panthers (1-3-2) outshot the Patriots (3-4-0) 20-16 and earned a 6-4 edge in shots on goal, but couldn’t break through the George Mason defense. However, it was the Patriots that earned the victory with a dramatic goal in the 109th minute.
“I am immensely proud to coach these young men tonight,” head coach EJ O’Keeffe said. “We have made great strides since the beginning of the year. Soccer is a cruel game and we all feel that tonight. This group has strong character and I expect nothing less than a positive response as we prepare for two tough games this week.
Junior Renato Punyed led the HPU offense with eight shots – including three on goal. Meanwhile, senior Collin Sweeney and sophomores Ede Kudolo and Avery Ryan recorded the team’s other three shots on goal.
Defensively, redshirt-senior Kody Palmer kept the Patriots off the board for 108 minutes on the strength of three saves.
Neither team was able to get a shot on goal until Punyed broke through for a shot in the 15th minute. However, George Mason’s goalkeeper, Steffen Kraus, was able to make the save. Likewise, Palmer preserved the 0-0 tie 19 minutes later with his first save of the night.
Palmer, then, stepped up again with another save in the 38th minute to keep the score 0-0 as the teams headed to halftime. Both teams were able to tally seven shots in the first period while the Patriots earned a 3-0 edge in corners.
The Panthers came out aggressive after the break with shots on goal by Ryan (48th) and Punyed (51st), but Kraus was able to stop them both. Palmer answered with his third save of the night in the 74th minute. HPU had its best chance to break the tie with a penalty kick in the 87th minute, but Kraus made the stop for the Patriots as the game moved into overtime.
Neither team was able to get a shot on goal for the first 18 minutes of overtime, but Henning Dirks broke through for George Mason in the 109th minute for the game-winner.
The Purple & White will return to Vert Stadium on Wednesday when they host UNCG at 7:00 p.m. in an intra-Triad tussle.