• High Point University men’s soccer earns its second consecutive shutout victory, in 2-0 final against Appalachian State
• Leading goal-scorer Ilias Kosmidis was responsible for both tallies, with Jonathan Bolanos grabbing his second helper of 2018
• The Panthers have not allowed a goal in two-plus games now, and is on a streak of 197 minutes of shutout soccer
HIGH POINT, N.C. – Ilias Kosmidis’ brace led to High Point University men’s soccer’s third consecutive victory this Tuesday, pitching a 2-0 shutout against visiting Appalachian State.
The Panther defense was impenetrable in the opening 45 minutes against App State, blocking the only two shooting attempts the Mountaineer forwards were able to pull the trigger on. While neither side provided an abundance off offense in the first half, the hosting side would be the first to strike, after a hand ball from ASU in their own 18 triggered a penalty for the Panthers.
Starting forward Ilias Kosmidis delivered his sixth goal of the year in relaxed fashion, as the junior deposited his third PK opportunity of 2018 into the bottom left corner. Kosmidis’ tally proved to be the difference after 45, as HPU took a lead into halftime for the fourth time this year.
“We didn’t give up a good chance in the first half,” said Head Coach EJ O’Keeffe. “We talked to the guys about how we wanted to defend and get at them a bit more. Obviously we went into the half time 1-0 and the second half I thought we were very good.”
It didn’t take long for High Point to double their lead in the second, with Kosmidis picking up his second multi-goal game of the past week. Junior Jonathan Bolanos’ ability to beat the Mountaineer defense one-on-one provided continuous opportunities for the Panthers throughout the night. The forward’s strong dribbling led to his side’s second score in the 48th minute, attacking the App State defense before laying a through ball to the streaking Komidis. The Grecian native responded with a perfectly aimed ball inside the right post, adding another pair to his now team-leading total of seven goals.
The Panthers proved to be the better team offensively in the proceeding 20 minutes, outshooting their opponents 4-1, twice coming within a yard of a third goal, on headers from Bolanos and starting striker Siggi Benonysson.
After making a mass sub, the Mountaineer offense attempted to up their own offensive aggressiveness, pulling the trigger on seven shots in the final 28 minutes of regulation. Goalkeeper Keegan Meyer, and the remainder of the HPU defense, would be up to task however, with Meyer making a pair of diving stops, and the 10 in front him recording four blocks.
“Keegan [Meyer] is a big-time goalkeeper. We expect that out of him,” said O’Keeffe. “He was good, he was a brick wall, and we feel unbelievably confident in him. We know he’s back there for us and he’s part of the reason we were able to keep that zero tonight.”
With the ASU offense unable to penetrate High Point’s defense, O’Keeffe’s side would secure its third shutout victory of the season and its second consecutive. The Panthers have now gone a consecutive 197 minutes without conceding a goal, as their GAA for the season drops to exactly 1.00.
>> Kosmidis continues to be the most productive scorer in the Big South. His seven goals are a conference-high, collecting three more than any other player in the league
>> Keegan Meyer’s two saves, give the junior a total of three clean sheets this season, and 16 for his career
>> Recently earning Big South Defensive Player of the Week honors, senior defender Johnny Fenwick continues to be a superior backstop for HPU, playing all 90 minutes of the evening’s match on the backline
>> Freshman striker Tanner Binion made his third consecutive appearance for the Panthers, while fellow first-year Seth DePriest-Kessler made his second consecutive
COMING UP NEXT
• High Point will try to continue its unbeaten run in conference play, facing off with Winthrop on the road this Saturday at 7 p.m.
• The Panthers have not lost to Winthrop in regulation since 2013, with their only losing decision against the Eagles in the past five years coming on penalties in the 2015 Big South Championship final