Site: Matthews, N.C. (Sportsplex at Matthews)
Score: High Point 0, #8 Georgetown 2
Records: High Point (12-2, 8-0), #8 Georgetown (9-1-2, 7-0-2)
MATTHEWS, N.C. — The High Point University men’s soccer team had their season come to an end in the 2020 NCAA Tournament Second Round as High Point fell to Georgetown 2-0. This is the furthest a High Point Soccer team has made it in the NCAA Tournament. HPU has experienced its most successful season yet winning its first Big South Tournament championship and following it up with a second-round appearance.
“I’m proud of the guys, the program, the staff, and everything we have been about this year,” Head Coach Zach Haines said after the 2-0 result against Georgetown in the NCAA Second Round. “We just played the defending national champions straight up, absolutely went toe to toe with them. We came to win the game, we came to be aggressive, we came to take the game to them with and without that ball and they were just a little bit better than us on the day. In the sense that they took their two chances extremely well, we also had some incredible chances and it just did not quite happen for us. Credit to Georgetown they are the stature of the program they are for a good reason. They are well-coached, they have talent, they work hard. I’m just proud of my guys they came in with no fear and they played today, they gave everything they had.”
Both teams came out aggressively to start with the Panthers matching the intensity of the Hoyas from the start. Caco Fernandez registered the first shot of the contest for either side as his chance was high in the 17th minute of play. A few minutes later in the 21st minute, the Hoyas struck first as they capitalized on a header off of a cross to go up 1-0.
The Panthers started to apply pressure to Georgetown after the Hoya goal. A little over two minutes later in the 24th minute, Alex Abril fired off what the High Point faithful in attendance hoped would be the equalizer as his shot was placed precisely on target but punched away by Georgetown’s keeper.
One of the best Panther chances of the day came just moments later in the 28th minute as MD Myers was forced to shoot quickly as the Hoya keeper closed in on him as Myers found himself all alone in the box. Myers shot was blocked and the score remained 1-0.
The Hoyas took a 1-0 lead into the break. Georgetown started the half with two opportunities that would ultimately lead to their second goal of the day. The Hoyas sent in a shot off of a corner in the 48th minute and Holden Trent made a tremendous diving save that kept the game at 1-0. The Hoyas were able to again get on the attacking end of things and were able to create a one on one opportunity in the box and score to find the second goal of the day in the 49th minute of play.
Mason Marcey looked to get HPU back in the game as he provided several shots in the 52nd minute of the game and set up a corner kick that Georgetown sent away. The Panthers stayed locked in and continued to search for the goal that would shrink the lead to one as the second half pushed on. In the 59th minute, Marcey knocked the ball away from the Hoyas and won it back for The Purple & White and quickly passed it to Myers who gave it back to Marcey just as fast. Marcey’s shot was just wide. Marcey shot again in the 60th minute, that bid for a goal was wide.
The Hoyas continued to attack and Trent was able to turn them away with several stellar saves down the stretch to keep Georgetown at two. Fernandez provided HPU’s last quality chance of the day with a hard, well-timed shot that just missed the upper corner.
In the 89th minute, a fantastic run from Abril looked like it would be able to give the Panthers one but it was just high.
“It’s an unbelievable accomplishment what this program was able to do this season, to win the tournament for the first time, second NCAA tournament appearance,” Coach Haines said when asked to reflect on the year. “Also, we bring every single player back that was out here tonight plus a top 25 recruiting class. The trajectory of the program is really exciting and I know that these guys are going to be hungry for more. I could not be more positive and optimistic, this will be a great learning lesson in the long haul.”