Site: High Point, N.C. (Vert Stadium)
Score: High Point 3, Presbyterian 1
Records: High Point (8-0, 7-0), Presbyterian (4-4, 4-4)
Next HPU Event: Wednesday, April 7th vs. Longwood
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point University women’s soccer team clinched the Big South regular-season championship and the #1 overall seed in the conference tournament with a 3-1 victory over Presbyterian. This is the Panthers’ fourth regular-season conference championship in the last five years.
This is the first game all year in which the Panthers trailed, but they responded with three straight goals to put away the Blue Hose. Forward Sam Gerhart scored a brace for the Panthers and Salome Prat buried home the decisive goal late in the second half to seal the title for the Panthers.
“To start off this game we were really shaky, it’s not the way we want to play. Obviously, we have some things we want to work on as we go into the final homestretch of games here. Coach Brandi Fontaine said following the hard fought 3-1 win over PC. “I think some of that is what this team needs to keep them striving for more and wanting more. To take home into the final stretch of games and then to the championship, today is exactly what we needed. Good learning moment and experience for us.”
The Panthers trailed for the first time all season when the Blue Hose scored on a corner kick to jump out to an early 1-0 lead. However, High Point was unfazed and continued to put pressure on the Blue Hose.
High Point had two different three-shot possessions, one of which included a shot by Carsyn Gold that banged off the crossbar. The Panthers would not be denied in the 24th minute when a cross by Skyler Prillaman resulted in Gerhart burying the tying goal in the back of the net. High Point continued to press on the attack and had a few chances with Prat having a few good looks. The HPU defense was also very strong and did not allow another shot on goal the remainder of the first half.
The second half started well for the Panthers and they were able to take their first lead of the contest in the 53rd minute. Gold swung in a beautiful corner kick that Gerhart got up and headed home to give the Panthers a 2-1 lead. A few minutes later Presbyterian was able to counter-attack and goalkeeper Morgan Hairston made an excellent save to keep the Panthers ahead. The Panthers continued to try and get some breathing room with multiple shots by Prillaman and Gold that just missed. The Blue Hose struggled to cover Prat and she continued to press in the attacking half. Prat had shots on goal saved in the 81st and 83rd minute of the match. However, she would not be denied and after a pass in the box from Gerhart, Prat was rewarded with a goal and a 3-1 lead for the Panthers.
The Prat goal broke the spirit of the Blue Hose and the Panthers finished with a 3-1 victory. Due to Radford beating Longwood in a game that started at the same time, the Panthers were able to clinch the regular-season title and the #1 seed in the conference tournament.
The Panthers’ eight-game winning streak ties the longest mark in program history, which they set last season.
UP NEXT: Big South play continues for HPU as the Panthers host Longwood on Wednesday, April 7th. The game kicks off at 7:00 pm and will be streamed on ESPN+.