HPU WSOC Panthers Draw 1-1 With Bulldogs

• High Point University women’s soccer worked to a 1-1 draw while hosting Gardner-Webb this Wednesday, improving its home record to 4-1-2 on the year
• Freshman Brooke Parsons recorded the second goal of her career to open the evening’s scoring, putting her team ahead in the 11th minute

HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point University women’s soccer continues to get positive decisions at home this Wednesday, working to a 1-1 draw with visiting Gardner-Webb at Vert Stadium. Freshman Brooke Parsons recorded the second goal of her career in the contest, tying a Bulldogs side that currently sits second in the Big South standings.

“Our gameplan coming into today’s game was to press them hard and press them early in the hopes of getting an early goal,” said Head Coach Brandi Fontaine. “After that it was just a matter of keeping that mentality. We thought if we could press them we could make them feel uncomfortable, and that was what we were going after today.”

Both teams shared possession in the early minutes, but it would be the Panthers to open up scoring. Taking the ball off the right wing, Parsons beat a Gardner-Webb defender, while cutting toward the middle of the field. Still sitting at the right edge of the 18, the freshman forward delivered a left-footed strike that would force the Bulldog keeper to full extension. Parson’s attempt rang off the front of the left post, just before rebounding off the fallen GWU keeper and crossing the goalline for the early advantage.

The HPU defense held the Bulldogs to a single scoring chance throughout the first 45 minutes, keeping the visitors to five shots at net. Starting junior goalkeeper Talia Klimes would be called upon for a trio of saves in the first half, as she and the rest of the Panther defense insured a 1-0 lead for the home team, going into the break.

High Point seemed destined to convert its second of the night coming out of halftime, creating multiple chances from the wing in the opening 10 minutes. Missed opportunities on one end would work in the Bulldogs favor however, as GWU pulled even in the 55th on a shot from nearly 35 yards out.

The Panthers continued to work the outside of the field in the latter stages, with redshirt-freshman Charla Ward nearly putting her team in front during the 75th. A ball played in from defender Maggie Gruber found the head of a streaking Ward inside the 18, but the attempt was eventually turned away by the GWU goaltender to keep things even.

“They know what these games mean for us right now, so far as clinching the tournament and trying to get a home field advantage,” said Fontaine. “So they continued putting the pressure on, and I think there’s no doubt in their mind, that that’s what they want to get out of the game, and that’s what we wanted to get out of this game.”

With both teams even at one apiece, the Panthers entered their sixth match with extra time this year, looking for their first overtime goal of the season against the Bulldogs. Ward and Parsons continued to create problems for the GWU defense, but none were able to break the stalemate on either side. Klimes would have another two saves in the extra periods, with her career-high nine stops helping lead her side to its third draw of the Big South season.

At 3-3-3 in conference, the Panthers are ever closer to clinching their 20th straight appearance in the Big South tournament. HPU will face a ‘win and in’ scenario next week dependent upon the result of UNC Asheville’s matchup with Radford this Saturday. A loss for UNCA would secure High Point’s spot in the postseason, while a draw or better will create a qualifying scenario on the final matchday of the 2018 regular season campaign.

>> The Panthers put an end to the Bulldogs three-match winning streak, forcing GWU’s second draw of the conference season
>> Parsons is currently on a two-match point streak, collecting eight in total over her past six appearances
>> Klimes’ career-high in stops gives her a team-high of 43 on the year, despite starting just seven matches this season