• Freshman George Ekdahl provided the game-winning goal in his collegiate debut, scoring in the 58th minute.
• Sophomore Siggi Benonysson assisted on the goal, recording his 25th career points in the process.
• HPU outshot Howard 18-6 and attempted 14 corner kicks in the contest.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s soccer team opened the 2017 season with a 1-0 win over visiting Howard on Friday evening at Vert Stadium. Freshman George Ekdahl provided the lone goal in the contest.
“It’s great to start 1-0, you can’t ask for a better start,” head coach EJ O’Keeffe said. “It certainly looked like the first game, but we were able to grind out a result and get a win. We’ll look at a lot of things on tape and clean it up going into Monday.”
The Panthers (1-0-0) and Bison (0-1-0) exchanged blows early in the contest before High Point began gaining momentum in the later stages of the first half. HPU saw two opportunities go off the post in the opening 20 minutes of the match and wound up with a 7-3 shot advantage in the opening stanza.
HPU continued its pressure in the opening 15 minutes of the second half, earning three corner kicks. Junior Johnny Fenwick, who paced the squad with four shots, saw a pair of header opportunities slide just wide.
The extended pressure paid dividends in the 58th minute. Following a turnover at midfield, a long ball was played down the right side to sophomore Siggi Benonysson, who calmly worked into the box around an out-of-position goalkeeper. Benonysson found a wide-open George Ekdahl, who finished into an open net for his first career goal in his first collegiate match.
High Point never relented with possession following the tally, yielding the Bison just one shot on goal after halftime. Redshirt-sophomore goalkeeper Keegan Meyer recorded two saves for the clean sheet, the sixth of his career.
“I’m pleased with the shutout,” O’Keeffe said. “We’ve been working on our defense a lot this week and this was great to see for Keegan and the boys.”
The Purple & White dominated in most statistical categories, outshooting the Bison 18-6, including 6-2 in shots on goal. HPU had 14 corner kicks in the contest while holding Howard without one.
The Panthers hit the road for the first time in 2017 on Monday, Aug. 28 when they travel to Greensboro, N.C. to take on UNCG. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.