ELON, N.C. – Competing in the second contest of the 2019 campaign, High Point University suffered a loss to open its road schedule this Sunday, falling to hosts Elon by a final of 1-0. Sophomore Skyler Prillaman recorded a team-high four attempts at net on the night, while goalkeepers Talia Klimes and Morgan Hairston combined for four saves on the evening.
“The difference was that they put away an opportunity and we didn’t,” said Head Coach Brandi Fontaine. “We should have, but unfortunately we didn’t put it away, and we’ve got to that. We can’t give up these goals and then not put away opportunities when we spending the majority of the time in the attacking half.”
After surrendering a handful of shots in the early stages, the Panthers slowed things down in the first half, ultimately beating the Phoenix on the possession side of the game in the opening 45. Controlling the pace of play, the Purple & White were unable to find the final pass that would lead them to a go ahead goal, leaving the stage open for the Elon counter attack to capitalize later in the contest.
HPU was not without their chances in the opening stages however, with forward Skyler Prillaman and midfielder Chloe Le Franc each receiving opportunities in the attacking end. Making a run inside from the left wing, Prillaman received a pass that was just a step to close too the Elon keeper, while Le Franc was just a second late on a well delivered cross from right back Mackenzie Mullins. Outshooting the Panthers 7-5 at halftime, the Phoenix took advantage of HPU’s missed opportunities while finishing off an early fast break in the second half, making it 1-0 in favor of the home team in the 50th minute.
Checking in at the start of the second, senior forward Alex Denny brought some spark to the Panthers’ offense, receiving a pass inside the six-yard box from Skyler Prillaman to tuck away an easy finish. The celebration on Denny’s potential equalizer in the 60th would be cut short however, as a quick look at the linesman proved the play to be offside.
Keeper Morgan Hairston was called upon to make a save early in her first career appearance, subbing in during the 65th minute before facing down a Phoenix breakaway just moments later. The redshirt-freshman timed the sprint off her line to perfection, stopping the attempted shot from just eight yards out to keep her team within striking distance.
Holding onto their 1-0 lead, Elon attempted to play behind the ball for the remainder of the contest, leading to continual pressure from the HPU offense. Senior Kyle Levesque came within inches of an equalizer in the 82nd, after a deflected cross from freshman Carsyn Gold fell onto the midfielder’s foot at the top of the 18. Levesque put the laces to the volley but was ultimately unable to find the goal frame, as her strike went just inches wide of the post in her team’s final scoring chance of the night.
The evening’s contest ended in a final 1-0 victory for the hosting Phoenix as the Panthers will now have to look for their first win of the season against No. 11 West Virginia this coming Friday in Morgantown.
“…Going back to our organization defensively, we had a phenominal game the other day and then we fell back today both offensively and defensively,” said Fontaine. “…We set a new standard this week and we didn’t keep that same standard coming into this game, so we’ll get back to work and making sure that we continue holding to that standard defensively, especially playing someone of WVU’s caliber.”
>> Newcomers Chloe Le Franc and Keagan Bragg each earned the first starts of their HPU careers against Elon on Sunday
>> Defenders Allie Reagan and Shaylyn Owen each played a full 90 in the loss
>> Talia Klimes and Morgan Hairston combined for five saves on the night combining for a 1.00 GAA on the year thus far