Perrell brace lifts HPU women’s soccer to 2-1 win over Liberty

• High Point earned a 2-1 win over preseason conference favorite Liberty in the Big South opener on Saturday night at Vert.
• Redshirt-senior Kelsey Perrell had a brace in the game for the Panthers, giving her a team-high five goals this season.
• Junior Alex Hank had five saves in the game as HPU kept Liberty off the board until the final 16 seconds.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s soccer team began conference play with a 2-1 win over preseason favorite Liberty on Saturday night at Vert Stadium. Redshirt-senior Kelsey Perrell recorded a brace for the Panthers in the win.

“We battled hard tonight,” head coach Marty Beall said. “You have to give credit to Nate and his staff. Liberty is a very good team that gave us a lot of trouble. They shut us down offensively for the most part but thankfully we found a way to score a couple goals on some nice shots by Kelsey. Defensively, I thought we did ok but we still have a lot to improve upon.”

High Point improves to 5-4-1 overall and 1-0-0 in the Big South with the win while Liberty drops to 4-6-0 overall and 0-1-0 in conference play.

Perrell got the Panthers on the board in the 16th minute with a lofted strike from 25 yards. The forward took a back pass from junior Bri Jean-Charles and hit a lofted ball with her first touch, catching the Liberty keeper off her line.

High Point doubled its lead early in the second half on Perrell’s second goal of the night in the 47th minute. Senior Meg Kowalski controlled a cross into the box and fed Perrell with her back to net six-yards out. The forward turned on her defender and beat the keeper with a shot to the right corner. Perrell leads the Panthers with five goals on the season.

The Panther lead lasted until the 90th minute when Liberty got a goal with just 16 seconds remaining to make the final tally 2-1. Jennifer Knoebel hit a near-post cross from the right and Devon Jones chipped it over the head of HPU keeper Alex Hank for the Flames’ only score of the night.

Hank finished with five saves on the night to earn her fourth win of the season. The Panthers were outshot on the night, 11-7, and finished with one less shot on goal, 6-5.

High Point continues Big South play on Wednesday, Sept. 24, when the Panthers return to the road to take on Winthrop in Rock Hill, S.C. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.