Site: Spartanburg, S.C. (County University Soccer Stadium)
Score: High Point 2, USC Upstate 1
Records: High Point (8-1, 6-0), USC Upstate (5-3-1, 5-1-1)
Next HPU Event: Sat., April 3rd –vs Longwood, 7:00 PM (High Point, N.C.)
SPARTANBURG, S.C. — The High Point University men’s soccer team picked up its fifth straight win with a 2-1 victory over USC Upstate. High Point is now the lone unbeaten Big South team at 6-0. Ashton Perkins provided the offense for HPU as the redshirt freshman scored the first goals of his career on Saturday night (March 27th). The Panthers snapped Upstate’s five-game unbeaten streak with the win. HPU was able to pick up its fifth straight win on only two days’ rest.
“I am proud of my team and my staff. They showed their character in a big game,” head coach Zach Haines said after the 2-1 win. “Scott does a great job and his team is having a really good season. We knew it was going to be a challenge tonight and our guys were up for it. We are looking forward to the final stretch this season. This group is ready and prepared for a strong finish.”
The game got underway a little over an hour later than originally scheduled due to a lightning delay. The Panthers outshot USC Upstate 9-5 in the first half. Caco Fernandez led the way in shooting in the first as the freshman recorded four shots, providing a spark off the bench. The first half was slow-paced, Upstate put one shot on target in the 16th-minute, Upstate shot and Holden Trent was able to make the stop. High Point was responsible for the last five shots of the half as the Panthers turned up the pressure on the Spartan defense to end the half.
The Panthers came out energized in the second half as the Purple & White searched for the first goal of the contest. In the 54th minute, Nick Phipps crossed a ball into the box that Perkins tracked down and nodded home for the first goal to put HPU up 1-0. Less than three minutes later Perkins scored again as the redshirt freshman dribbled into the box and finished low to give High Point the two-goal lead in the second half.
In the 65th minute Pol Monells scored for Upstate off a penalty kick to bring the Panther lead down to one.
The last 25 minutes were filled with offensive pressure as Upstate desperately searched for the equalizer. Trent and the defense saw seven shots from the Spartans over the last twenty-five minutes of the game. Trent made three saves in the second half to hold the one-goal lead for HPU.
The Panthers held strong and stopped the Spartans to pick up their fifth straight win and the sixth Big South win of the season for the Purple & White.
High Point entered the evening with the number one goal differential in the country with 19. The 2-1 win moves the differential up to 20. The Panthers have only allowed four goals this season.
UP NEXT: The Panthers return to Vert Stadium to host Longwood on Saturday (April 3rd) with the game being streamed on ESPN+. Kickoff will be at 7:00 PM.