Site: High Point, N.C. (Vert Stadium)
Score: #1 High Point 1, #4 UNC Asheville 0
Records: #1 High Point (11-1, 8-0), # 4 UNC Asheville (2-5-1, 2-4-1)
Next HPU Event: High Point will play USC Upstate in the Big South Tournament Championship Saturday, April 17th at 7:00 pm.
HIGH POINT, N.C. – The Panthers took down UNC Asheville in overtime, 1-0. The Panthers went undefeated in conference play, winning the Big South regular-season title. This will be the second straight Big South Championship appearance for the Purple & White. Mason Marcey was the hero for High Point in overtime as the senior transfer provided a ‘stunner of a goal to end the game and send his Panthers to the Big South Championship final.
“First off congrats to Nick and Asheville,” Coach Zach Haines said after the 1-0 win over UNC Asheville. “They had a great season to finish in the top four is a big achievement for Nick in his first year, as the interim. He has been with the program for a while he should be super proud of his guys tonight. They gave everything. They defended, they made blocks, they made saves they worked really hard I thought that Asheville gave a fantastic effort. The best thing about our performance was that we just kept going. We did not get frustrated we had a lot of the ball, we had a lot of chances it just didn’t come for us, didn’t come for us, and then it did. That’s the mentality of the group to make sure that they keep going.”
High Point kept knocking at the door throughout the first half. Marcey seemed determined for a goal, being found just offside twice on two great opportunities. While defensively, Holden Trent made the lone save of the half, making a good save on the only Asheville effort.
The second half began similarly to the first, Panther dominated. High Point created several quality chances that were neutralized by the UNC Asheville defense. The Bulldogs almost opened the scoring from a free-kick but Trent was quick to react at his near post to push it away. Finn McRobb got his head behind a corner from Marcey, but the Asheville goalkeeper made a highlight-reel save to deny the Scotsman. A series of shots with two minutes to play could not help the Panthers find the breakthrough. The game remained deadlocked at zero for all 90 minutes. High Point headed into their first overtime experience of the season.
Panthers came out in on the attack, hungry to end the game. In the second minute of overtime, Nick Phipps whipped in a ball to the top of the 18-yard box. Marcey flicked the ball on with his head. His header hit a Bulldog defender and popped back out to the midfielder. Marcey took the ball on a one-time shot with his left foot. His shot dipped over the Asheville goalkeeper and under the crossbar to give the Panthers the overtime victory and a spot in the Big South Championship against USC Upstate. It was Marcey’s second goal of the season.
The senior sprinted to the sideline as he ripped off his jersey and was chased down by his teammates. Marcey made sure to soak in the first postseason win of his career.
“This moment feels great,” Marcey said following his golden overtime goal. “I was most excited because I’ve never won a playoff game before I got here so it was great to be able to get a win.”
The Panthers head to the final on Saturday seeking their first Big South Tournament win in program history.
UP NEXT: High Point will take on USC Upstate in the Final of the Big South Tournament. The game will be played at Vert Stadium on April 17th at 7:00 PM. That game will be streamed on ESPN +.