• No. 16 High Point University men’s soccer saw its most successful season in Division I history come to an end this Thursday, falling to No. 28 James Madison 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship tournament
• The Panthers’ trip to the tournament was the first in the team’s history, as the club became the first HPU program to ever host an NCAA postseason contest
• High Point’s ending to the 2018 campaign is the latest the team has ever ended a campaign in its Division I history, after winning its second straight Big South regular season title
2018 HPU Men’s Soccer Season Accolades
1) Second straight Big South regular season championship
2) Highest ranking of any program in High Point athletic Division I history (12th)
3) First men’s HPU program to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament
4) First HPU team to host an NCAA tournament competition
5) Set D1 program record in regular season win percentage (.844)
6) Program-best six players on Big South First Team All-Conference squad
7) Swept Big South end of season awards
HIGH POINT, N.C. – After making history throughout the 2018 season, No. 16 High Point University men’s soccer saw their postseason run come to an end against No. 28 James Madison, falling to the Dukes 3-0 in the first round of the NCAA Championship tournament. The Panthers close out the campaign with a number of new accomplishments, including a second straight Big South regular season title.
“To those seniors I cant thank them enough.” said Head Coach EJ O’Keeffe after the match. “They’ve taken this program from a good program, to a nationally relevant program that deserved to be in this game, we just didn’t come out on the right side of it tonight.”
Thursday night’s contest began at a fast pace, with Panther goalkeeper Keegan Meyer getting tested in the 13th minute. The junior made an easy save but would face seven James Madison shots on goal through the night, to finish with four stops overall.
The visitors were the first to crack the tie, with a delivery from JMU midfielder Yannick Franz finding teammate Aaron Ward-Baptiste at the top of the six.
High Point worked hurriedly to get back the equalizer, as Ryan Inman and senior Johnny Fenwick continued to create chances off of set pieces. After a strike from Inman was deflected out of bounds, Fenwick nearly put away the tying goal on the ensuing header. The two English nationals continued to lead their team’s attempts on goal, combining for five shots in the first half alone.
Some confusion at the back would lead to a second Dukes goal before the break however, as James Madison increased its advantage on an indirect free kick inside the 18.
The Panthers pressed hard in the early stages of the second half in attempt to get a hold of momentum, as Inman again sent a free kick just inches over the JMU crossbar. Junior forward Siggi Benonysson would get on the action as well, with a header from inside of the 18 going just a yard wide of goal in the 52nd.
The Dukes put away the final goal of the night during the 70th minute, scoring on a curled shot from JMU midfielder Manuel Ferriol. With just 20 minutes remaining, the Panthers were unable to put a dent in the visiting side’s lead, and the final whistle would sound with a score of 3-0 on the board.
“It has been a historic season for us we’ve done some great things.” said Fenwick, in his final press conference as a Panther. “We have some really talented players in that locker room. When I first walked in here as a freshman we had a great group of guys but the talent wasn’t up to what it is now… The program has moved and made great strides”
>> With 77 caps over his time at High Point captain Johnny Fenwick finishes his career with the Panthers sitting fourth in Division I program history
>> Goalkeeper Pat Fallon made his first appearance of the season, coming in relief of Meyer in the 87th minute
>> Inman came within one shot of a career-high, taking five attempts at net against James Madison