HPU women’s soccer falls in OT to Liberty in the Big South Championship, 2-1

• High Point lost in to Liberty in overtime by a score of 2-1 in the Big South Championship on Sunday in Greensboro, N.C.
• Junior Annie Redovian scored the Panthers’ only goal in the contest.
• The loss is HPU’s first in the Big South Championship in seven appearances.

GREENSBORO, N.C. – The top-seeded High Point University women’s soccer team fell to second-seeded Liberty in overtime by a score of 2-1 in the Big South Championship game in Greensboro, N.C., on Sunday afternoon.

“I am very proud of this team and the way they competed today,” head coach Marty Beall said. “I thought we competed at the highest level and really outplayed Liberty for much of the afternoon. We were unfortunate to not score some goals but their keeper made some top-level saves. That proved to be the difference in the game. The ball bounced their way at the end and they were able to knock it home.”

The contest between the Panthers and Flames was tied at 1-1 forcing overtime at Macpherson Stadium. High Point dominated the early minutes of overtime, putting up four shots and a corner kick. In the seventh minute of the extra period, Liberty earned a throw in deep in their offensive third and the ball fell at the near post. With HPU keeper Alex Hank battling the sun, Gabrielle Farrell lunged forward and poked the ball just inside the post for the game winner.

The Panthers scored the first goal of the contest when junior Annie Redovian recorded her first collegiate goal in the 14th minute. Junior Becca Rolfe delivered a flip throw into the box and redshirt-junior Bailey Beattie hit a headed shot on goal that forced a diving save. Redovian crashed at the far post and knocked home the rebound to put HPU in front, 1-0.

High Point maintained its one-goal lead until early in the second half when the Flames tied the game with a goal by Isabella Habuda in the 51st minute. Liberty came out for the second half pushing for an equalizer and six minutes in Habuda finished a chance from to top of the six-yard box off a cross from the right end line by Jennifer Knoebel.

After the Liberty goal, High Point remained control of the game and pressured Liberty keeper Holly Van Noord as the team pushed forward looking for the game winner. HPU’s best chance came in the 69th minute when junior Michele Micciche was played in on a ball over the top and managed to touch the ball around Van Noord. The Flames’ keeper recovered enough to make a last-ditch diving save, keeping the score all tied at 1-1.

The Panthers finished the day with a 19-9 edge in shots and put eight shots on goal compared to five for Liberty. Junior Alex Hank finished with three saves in the contest compared to seven for Van Noord.

“I am gutted for my team,” Beall said. “They have had a fantastic season and for it to end this way I really feel for them. At the same time, I am so proud of them for everything they have done this year and all the hard work they put in to make this program what it needs to be.”

The loss in the Big South Championship was the first for High Point in seven appearances. The Panthers are now 1-1-5 in Big South Championship games and have advanced to the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship five times.

Rolfe and fellow juniors Paige Rombach and Lindsay Elsen were all named to the Big South Tournament Team for HPU. Rolfe and Rombach both scored game winners in the tournament while Elsen supplied an assist while also playing very good defense in the midfield in the three games.

High Point finishes the 2016 season with a 13-6-2 record, the Panthers’ best finish in program history. The previous record for wins in a season, which HPU accomplished in 1993, 2014 and 2015.