Site: High Point, N.C. (Vert Stadium)
Score: #1 High Point 3, #3 Campbell 4
Records: High Point (10-1), (8-0), Campbell (8-3-1), (6-2-1)
Next HPU Event: TBD
HIGH POINT, N.C. – High Point fell 4-3 to Campbell in the Big South Championship Final, 4-3. The Panthers showed great determination to battle back from three goals down, but it just wasn’t enough. This is the first time this season High Point has conceded more than one goal. The Panthers came into the game with an NCAA RPI ranking of #6 in the country, #24 via Top Drawer Soccer rankings, #24 via College Soccer News, and receiving votes from the United Soccer Coaches poll. The highest rankings in program history. High Point still has a chance to qualify for the NCAA Tournament via an at-large bid with their resume from the regular season of a perfect record and Big South regular-season title. Shaylyn Owen, Skyler Prillaman, and London Lewis earned Big South All-Tournament Team honors.
“Incredibly proud of this team and the season we have had,” Head Coach Brandi Fontaine said. “We could not have asked for anything more for them to give us in the Big South Final. I am so proud of how we fought until the very end.”
The camels struck first in the Big South Final and were able to score in the second minute of the game. Soon after, Campbell added to their tally with a second goal in the ninth minute. The Panthers continued to battle back and their bench stayed boisterous to give them that extra bit of motivation. High Point almost got a goal from a friendly bounce off of a Campbell defender but the Camels goalkeeper was able to react quickly.
The Panthers continued to stay on the offensive and began to find their flow, totaling five shots in the first half. High Point began to ask some questions of the Camels defense in the hopes of finding a way back into the game. However, Campbell seemed to capitalize on every chance they were given and added a third goal in the 32nd minute.
The Panthers opened their account in the 34th minute when Alex Deperno made a great move around two Camels and played a brilliant ball between two Campbell defenders. The ball found Prillaman, who slid the ball across the box. A Campbell defender slid in to stop the cross but put it off her post. The rebound fell kindly to Magdalena Schwarz, who tucked it into an empty net. The goal was Schwarz’s second of the season and the Panther’s first of the night.
The second half began with a goal from the Camels which gave them their three-goal lead back and their fourth of the night to give CU a 4-1 advantage. Morgan Hairston made a great save on another Campbell attack.
In the 48th minute, Juliette Vidal sent a long ball towards Schwarz for her to chase. Schwartz was able to take the ball down and find the back of the net past the on-rushing Campbell goalkeeper. Schwarz’s goal was her second of the night and third of the season.
Shortly after, Schwarz almost added her third off a great cross from Prillaman. Only two goals down, momentum seemed to have shifted in favor of the Panthers. Emma Schossler got forward from her outside back position and hit a powerful shot that flew inches wide of the post. Prillaman had another good chance off a corner but her effort was saved off the line. The Purple & White continued to feed off of the energy from the High Point fans and their bench. The intensity of the game was palpable. It truly felt like a Championship game.
The energy in Vert Stadium went through the roof in the 69th minute when Sam Gerhart got her first goal of the night. A looping ball from Prillaman found the head of a Campbell defender who headed the ball right toward Gerhart. Gerhart waited for the ball to fall so she could head it, powerfully, into the top corner. Gerhart got her 11th goal of the season and first of the night. The Panthers battled back from three goals down to only a goal down with 15 minutes to play, 4-3.
Heroic defending from Schossler surely kept the Panthers in the game. High Point continued to push the attack through Prillaman. Prillaman took it down the other end and played across toward Schwarz but it was just too high for the ex-Bayern Munich academy player.
An incredible year for High Point women’s soccer comes to an end at the final hurdle. The team amassed ten straight wins and no losses up until this point, en route to a record-breaking season. The Panther’s historic run puts them in the conversation to qualify for the NCAA tournament through an at-large bid.
The Panthers’ postseason fate will be decided on Monday at 1 PM in the NCAA Women’s Soccer selection show.