HPU men’s soccer draws with Gardner-Webb, 1-1

• High Point and Gardner-Webb finished tied, 1-1, in their match on Saturday.
• Sophomore Johnny Fenwick scored his second goal in as many games for the Panthers.
• HPU is undefeated in eight-straight games and is now 2-1-4 in seven overtime contests.

HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s soccer team earned its second-straight draw with a 1-1 result against Gardner-Webb in the Panthers’ regular season home finale on Saturday, Oct. 29 at Vert Stadium.

“I have to give a lot of credit to Gardner-Webb, they came in here and frustrated us in the first half,” head coach EJ O’Keeffe said. “We went in and challenged the guys at halftime because we did not have the right approach and I thought they responded well. We found a goal in the second half but in conference games you can’t just play for a half or a half and overtime, you have to play the full 90 minutes. Hopefully we learned that lesson as we prepare for another hard-fought game on Wednesday at Campbell.”

The draw pushed HPU’s undefeated streak to eight-straight games and moves the Panthers to 10-3-4 overall and 4-1-2 in the Big South this season. Gardner-Webb improves to 3-11-1 overall and 1-5-1 in conference play.

High Point came out on the front foot but it was Gardner-Webb that scored the first goal of the night with a tally off the foot of Brian Stepanek in the 11th minute. The Runnin’ Bulldogs got loose on the right and crossed into the box where two HPU defenders deflected the ball before it fell to the feet of Stepanek for the up-close shot at the far post.

The Panthers came back to tie the game in the second half on sophomore Johnny Fenwick’s second goal in as many games. High Point earned a corner that was cleared out, but freshman Ryan Inman controlled the clearance and recycled the ball into the box to Fenwick who took a touch to control before unleashing a shot into the far-side netting.

HPU continued to press forward looking for the game winner, outshooting Gardner-Webb by a margin of 16-8 in the second half and overtime. The Panthers’ best chance came early in the second overtime when freshman Jon Bolanos got by the last defender with the ball at his feet. He appeared to be fouled in the penalty area, but play continued and the midfielder hit a shot that ran just wide of the near post.

The Panthers are now 2-1-4 in seven overtime games this season.

High Point finished the night with a 20-11 advantage in shots and a 12-3 edge in corner kicks. Redshirt-freshman Keegan Meyer had four saves in the game and moved to 9-3-4 on the season.

HPU concludes the regular season with a game at Campbell on Wednesday, Nov. 2, in Boiling Springs, N.C. at 7 p.m., The Panthers can clinch a first-round bye in the Big South Tournament with a win in the finale and a win by Radford over UNC Asheville.