Site: High Point, N.C. (Vert Stadium)
Score: High Point 5, Lees-McRae 0
Records: High Point (1-0), Lees McRae (0-1)
Next HPU Event: Sunday, February 21st, — vs Gardner Webb (High Point, N.C.)
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University men’s soccer team (1-0) put their offensive firepower on full display as they defeated Lees-McRae (0-1) 5-0 on Sunday (Feb. 14) night. Tonight’s five goals match the most the Panthers have scored in a season opener since 1999. MD Myers was HPU’s leading scorer as he added two goals in the win. Sebastian Chalbaud and Finn McRobb both scored in their debut games for The Purple and White.
“We are happy about the first game”, Head Coach Zach Haines said after the five-goal victory. “Our guys had not played in 455 days so you knew there were going to be a lot of mistakes, you knew there was going to be moments of confusion, indecision, things like that but we just wanted to enjoy it and have fun. These guys have worked really hard and have done all the right things on and off the field to allow themselves this opportunity. I thought they took advantage of it they were engaged and played hard for 90 minutes. They put together a lot of good sequences in terms of the attacking play we had and some of the goals we scored. Defensively to get the clean sheet and look really solid and not give up too many chances gives us a lot of positives to walk away with tonight. We are just excited to be playing more than anything and the guys were buzzing, it was awesome.”
The Panthers wasted no time in getting their offense started as Top Drawer Soccer Top 100 selection Chalbaud scored less than a minute into his debut for HPU. The junior transfer received a cross into the box from senior captain Nick Phipps and buried a shot low in the corner on the wet turf. Chalbaud put the Panthers up 1-0 in the first minute.
In the 21st minute, Myers was fouled as he dribbled into the left side of the box and earned a penalty kick. The sophomore finished the penalty and put High Point up two just 21 minutes into the contest. A little more than ten minutes later Myers would strike again for the Purple and White. Davis Biggerstaff sent it over to him as he entered the box, Myers was able to create space and navigate through four Bobcat defenders and score his second goal of the match in the 33rd minute. The Panthers took a three-goal advantage into the break.
While the High Point offense was on full display the defensive effort from The Panthers was nothing short of impressive. The Panthers held Lees-McRae scoreless after 45 minutes of play and did not even allow a single Bobcat shot to be registered in the first half.
The Panthers applied tremendous offensive pressure on the Bobcats in the first half as HPU put six shots on goal. That mentality was present in the second half as well as the Panthers added a fourth goal to their lead in the 59th minute. Biggerstaff sent a ball to the right side of the box over to Phipps who crossed a ball to Alex Abril who finished with authority to give HPU their fourth goal of the day. The joy the Panthers had to be back on the field at Vert Stadium was made clear after Abril’s goal where he channeled Leicester City’s Jamie Vardy and simulated the playing of a guitar with the corner flag much to the delight of his High Point teammates.
The final goal of the night came off of the foot of the freshman McRobb who scored off a Caco Fernandez lob. McRobb swung his leg and connected with the ball as it descended and bounced into the goal off of the wet Vert turf. McRobb scored HPU’s fifth goal a minute after Abril’s in the 60th minute providing an exclamation mark on the evening for High Point.
UP NEXT: The Panthers look to carry this momentum into their first Big South game of the year next Sunday (Feb. 21) as they host Gardner Webb in Vert stadium. Kickoff is at 4:00 PM and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.