• High Point University women’s soccer shuts out UNC Asheville 3-0 at home this homecoming/senior night at Vert Stadium
• The Panthers offense collected its 13th goal in the past five contests, outscoring opponents 11-2 when playing at home during that span
• Senior Becca Palmer recorded the first goal of her career in her final Saturday contest in High Point, as she celebrated senior night alongside teammates Savannah Stoughton, Charlotte Kennedy and Emily Lyon
HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point University women’s soccer continued its impressive offensive performance of late, putting away visiting UNC Asheville by a final score of 3-0 this homecoming Saturday. Three different Panthers scored on the night, as senior Becca Palmer recorded the first of her career, in her final weekend contest at Vert Stadium.
“I think [our seniors] will remember this game for the rest of their life,” said Head Coach Brandi Fontaine. “It was an amazing moment for them, and it was an amazing moment for this team. I’m really excited for them to go out on a note like this. Even though there is more of the season to play they will remember this one.”
After bidding farewell to Palmer, and fellow seniors Emily Lyon, Savannah Stoughton and Charlotte Kennedy in the opening ceremonies, the Panthers took the field looking to break UNCA’s current two-game win streak against the Bulldogs.
Both sides found offense hard to come by in the opening minutes, with HPU and UNCA combining for four shots in the first 45. The High Point defense held its opponent without a single shot on goal in the first half, with Lyon keeping the Bulldogs scoreless in her seventh start of 2018.
The Panthers jumped on Asheville immediately after the halftime break, erasing the scoreless tie with freshman Skyler Prillaman’s sixth goal of the year. Fellow first-year Brooke Parsons played a low cross from the right side of the 18, before forward Alex Denny tipped said cross to a streaking Prillaman on the back end. The Virginia-native buried the opportunity to put her team out in front, as the home team gathered a 1-0 advantage after 48 minutes of play.
“We made adjustments at half time to get players to move around and pull away,” commented Fontaine. “[UNC Asheville was] very tight and organized defensively and it was all about our movement. …When we drive the end line we’re dangerous and it’s just finishing the opportunity after that where we often struggle. However, we were able to put some away tonight.”
HPU would have six unanswered shots in the proceeding minutes, before another freshman doubled the hosting side’s lead in the 79th. Forward Caitlin Shepherd settled down a deflected shot before delivering an absolute rope destined for the right upper-90. The UNCA keeper was able to get a hand on the Shepherd attempt but the power of the strike was too much to handle, as it deflected into the side-netting for a 2-0 lead.
With the Panthers pouring on the pressure, the Bulldogs were unable to mount an attack on senior goalkeeper Charlotte Kennedy, who entered the match in relief of Lyon at the break. Keeping UNCA without a single SOG in the remaining 45, the HPU defense held its opponents without a targeted attempt for the second time this season, as Kennedy helped preserve her team’s fifth shutout of 2018.
Palmer provided the icing on the cake in the 85th, putting away the first goal of her career at High Point. Prillaman would have a hand in that goal as well, beating a defender down the left of the 18, before centering a ball to her awaiting teammate, just above the penalty mark. Palmer proceeded to capitalize on the ball from Prillaman, slotting home a goal that would give her side the decisive 3-0 victory.
“I would not be here without them,” Palmer said of her three fellow seniors. “We came in with eight [in our class] and now we are down to four and it really shows how we’ve persevered and were able to stay here together. I would not have been here without those three.”
Currently on a two-game winning streak, the Panthers have been all but perfect in conference play this season, improving their Big South record to 3-1-2 on the year. The side’s win over UNCA puts them in a tie for second with Longwood, trailing only league-leader Radford for the top spot in the conference.
>> This is the second time this year the Panthers have held a team without a shot on goal, keeping Campbell without a single SOG in 110 minutes of play earlier this season
>> Palmer’s goal puts 10 different Panthers on the scoresheet this season, with Shepherd and Prillaman scoring their fourth and sixth respectively
>> HPU has been all but untouchable when playing at the Vert this season, posting a record of 4-1-1 at home, while outscoring opponents 15-2
COMING UP NEXT
• The Panthers embark on their last four matches of the regular season, getting back on the road for a 3 p.m. kickoff at Charleston Southern the coming Wednesday
• High Point leads the all-time series against the Buccaneers at 19-6-0, looking for its 11th straight victory against CSU