GREENSBORO, N.C. – The High Point University men’s soccer team scored two goals in the final 20 minutes to surge past UNCG, 2-1, on Monday night at UNCG Soccer Stadium. With the triumph, HPU moved to 2-0-0 for the first time since 2012.
“The boys did really well to deal with some adversity, and I thought we deserved the result tonight,” head coach EJ O’Keeffe said. “The final 35 minutes were arguably our best so far this year. I’m unbelievably proud of this group and the resolve they showed to find the two goals. The way we played, and the way we went about the match, was absolutely excellent.”
Physical play prevailed in the opening stages of the match with HPU (2-0-0) being called for six fouls in the initial 15 minutes of the contest. The teams combined for 14 fouls in the first half and just 11 shots on goal.
The physicality continued after halftime, which ultimately helped lead to UNCG’s goal. During a mad scramble for a loose ball inside the box, the Spartans’ Sandro Bradara was taken down and awarded a penalty kick. The UNCG (0-1-1) forward went low left side past goalkeeper Keegan Meyer to give the Spartans a 1-0 advantage in the 55th minute.
The call seemed to spur momentum in High Point’s favor, however, as the Panthers controlled possession for the final 35 minutes. Sophomore Jonathan Bolanos saw three tremendous opportunities go awry before HPU finally broke through in the 73rd minute.
After High Point earned a corner kick, sophomore Ryan Inman curved a ball towards the near-side left post, which ricocheted off a Spartan defender and into the net for the tying own goal.
HPU continued to push after evening the match. Holding possession in the 82nd minute, senior Ebe Kudolo weaved his way through a maze of defenders down the left side and found sophomore Siggi Benonysson. The Iceland native created space just outside of the box and arced a pass with his right foot to a slicing Justen Shear, who one-touched it under the cross bar for the go-ahead, and eventual game-winning, goal.
High Point’s defense withstood the UNCG assault in search of the tying goal, not allowing a single shot in the final eight minutes of the match.
The Purple & White held the advantage in shots, 13-12, and corner kicks, 7-2. HPU was awarded six of its seven corners following intermission. The teams ended up combining for 33 fouls, 23 of which were whistled against the Panthers.
High Point continues its four-game road swing on Friday against Duke in Durham, N.C. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. and the game will be streamed on ACC Network Extra.