BOONE, N.C. – The High Point University women’s soccer team opened the 2017 season with a 1-0 victory over Appalachian State on Friday afternoon at the Ted Mackorell Soccer Complex. HPU improved to 3-0-1 in its last four season openers with the triumph.
“We’re happy we can walk away from this game with a win,” head coach Marty Beall said. “I think in the first half we had a lot of success when we were moving the ball quickly and keeping possession. I’m proud of our defense for weathering the storm (in the second half). When you have Alex Hank back there keeping things calm and cleaning up loose balls, it really helps give confidence to our back line.”
High Point (1-0-0) controlled a majority of the first half, constantly pressing into the attacking third. The Panthers finally broke through in the 18th minute on a tip-in goal from sophomore Maggie Gruber. The play started with a strong run from freshman Mackenzie Mullins on the right side, who sent in a cross to the middle of the box. Senior Michele Micciche headed the ball down to the feet of Gruber, who snuck it past Appalachian keeper Taylor Ray.
The Mountaineers (0-1-0) gained momentum through the final 15 minutes of the first half, ultimately collecting the final three shots of the stanza to even the total at six a piece at half. App State continued to mount pressure in the second half, outshooting the Panthers 11-2 after halftime. Three of the shots were saved by senior keeper Alex Hank, who added to her school record with her 21st career shutout.
Hank found assistance from her back line when senior Annie Redovian clearing an errant corner the snuck through the box in the 59th minute. Additionally, in the 82nd minute, an App State free kick from just outside of the box was deflected away by a six-person HPU wall. The Mountaineers had one last chance in the final 30 seconds, but the shot was sent wide.
High Point was outshot 17-8, including 3-1 in shots on goal. The Mountaineers earned six corner kicks to High Point’s one.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Beall said. “We have a quick turnaround before we play an SEC team so our girls have to respond the right way to get ready for Georgia.”
The Panthers continue their two-game road swing to open the season on Sunday when they take on Georgia at 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus.