• Sophomore Jonathan Bolanos netted his fifth goal in his last two matches in the fifth minute to give HPU an early 1-0 lead.
• Sophomore Connor Cesar scored the game-winning marker in the 78th minute, his second goal of the year, both of which have been go-ahead markers.
• The Panthers improved to 4-1 in conference play, including a perfect 3-0 on the road in Big South competition.
BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – The High Point University men’s soccer team continued its season-long road success with a 3-1 victory on Saturday afternoon against Gardner-Webb at Greene-Harbison Stadium. The victory moved High Point into a tie atop the conference standings with three games remaining in Big South play.
“This is an absolute great win against against a good Gardner-Webb team,” head coach EJ O’Keeffe said. “We weren’t at our best for the full 90 minutes, but when it mattered most, we left no doubt. We should immense character and came away with all three points. TYhe way we have grown and matured these last few weeks is great to see. We look forward to continuing to improve as we have a crucial match against Liberty at home Wednesday night.”
High Point (6-5-3, 4-1-0) got off to yet another quick start, drawing first blood in the fifth minute. In his first outing since his four-goal outburst last week, sophomore Jonathan Bolanos collected yet another marker in the game’s fifth minute. Bolanos was able to win a 1 v. 1 matchup inside the box against the Gardner-Webb (6-6-1, 2-3-0) keeper for the early 1-0 lead.
Bolanos had an opportunity for another goal in the 12th minute off of a corner from sophomore Ryan Inman, but had his attempt saved. The sophomore ended the day with three shots, including a pair on net, but was involved in many high-quality chances throughout the match.
After High Point’s fast start, it was the Runnin’ Bulldogs who seized momentum for the remainder of the first half, ultimately tying the match in the 40th minute. A turnover on the edge of the penalty area led to a goal for Roman Eddleman, evening the score at 1-1.
The second half proved to be a wide open, back-and-forth affair. Bolanos set up an opportunity for redshirt-sophomore Bana Ganidekam in the 59th minute that was cleared off the line for a team save. The Panthers pressure earned them a penalty kick in the 68th minute when Bolanos was pulled down in the box. However, senior Ebe Kudolo’s attempt was saved to keep the game tied.
The stalemate didn’t last long, though, as HPU moved ahead in the 75th minute on a goal from sophomore Connor Cesar. A corner kick was originally cleared, but junior Rashid Tetteh kept it alive and found sophomore Jaime Vasconcellos who got a touch on it to Cesar. The sophomore then went top corner from 10 yards out to put the Panthers in front.
High Point put the match away with less than a minute remaining on a play that was started by sophomore goalkeeper Keegan Meyer. His long punt found Vasconcellos, who fired from the edge of the box and beat the keeper left for his first goal of the season.
The Panthers finished the match with a 15-11 edge in shots, including 9-5 in on-target attempts. Meyer, the reigning Big South Defensive Player of the Week, made four stops to pick up the victory.
HPU, winners of three straight conference matchups, returns home for a pair of games next week. The Panthers host Liberty on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in a matchup of two teams currently tied with 12 points in the conference standings.