Sep. 20—HIGH POINT — Opening its Big South schedule against Campbell on Saturday night, High Point University's women's soccer team found some of what it has been missing this season.
The discovery came after the Panthers fell behind two goals early and couldn't prevent another loss as the Camels held on for a 2-1 victory in a rematch of last spring's Big South championship final that Campbell also won.
The Camels took advantage of HPU's sloppiness in the midfield to score both of its goals in the first 20 minutes. The Panthers picked up their play soon after that and dominated most of the last 65 minutes while looking more like last season's Big South regular season champions but could never score the equalizer and remained winless at 0-6-2.
"To start off the game we didn't start off the way we had hoped," HPU coach Brandi Fontaine said. "We started off having some momentum and then we got frazzled in a few moments. But, I couldn't be more of the team and how they responded after Campbell scored those two goals for the rest of the game and especially the second half.
"The second half is the team we've been waiting to arrive, the fight they had, the way they played for each other and competing, looking for opportunities and going to goal. We couldn't ask for a better response. We'll build off this going into the game at (UNC) Asheville on Wednesday."
Both of the Camel goals came after they took control of the ball near midfield. Jackie Richards scored the first one in the 14th minute as she dribbled into the box and sent a shot high into the net from about 15 yards out. The other score was six minutes later as Emma Bushee swiped the ball, dribbled until close to the goal and passed to Reagan Baiotto, who fired into the net from close range.
Fontaine made a series of substitutions a few minutes later, and HPU played with more intensity as it became more active on offense and limited the Camels (3-2-2) to just a handful of shots the rest of the way.
"It was a lot of our freshmen," Fontaine said. "I think some of our returners were thinking back to last year and it was a bit of nerves hitting them. The greatest thing was the freshmen had nothing to fear. They played for the team and gave everything they had. Because they didn't know what we were up against because they weren't in last year's game, they gave us that energy and boost that we needed."
Magdalena Schwartz scored the HPU goal, her first of the season, after taking a feed from Lily Neubauer in the 75th minute. The Panthers, which finished with a 15-8 advantage in shots, created plenty of other opportunities but couldn't convert.
Skyler Prillaman missed on a crossing shot with Campbell goalie Reagham Duval out of position in the first half, and hesitated just enough on a second-half breakaway and allowed Duval to make one of her five saves. Duval smothered Fain Buete's shot in the 52nd minute, made a leaping save in the 58th minute and jumped in to stop an HPU attack in the 66th. A header off a free kick in the 70th minute sailed over the goal.
"We couldn't find the back of the net on all of them but to be honest, we haven't been creating opportunities like that," Fontaine said. "I'm happy that they were there and hopefully we'll start connecting at some point."
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