High Point, N.C. – Connor Behrend saved the fifth penalty kick attempt by High Point to secure the the first Big South Championship for the Presbyterian College men's soccer team Sunday afternoon in High Point, N.C. The Blue Hose (6-8-5) overcame missing their first PK attempt, winning, 4-3, after tying 0-0 in regulation and two overtimes, to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
How It Happened:
The first half of this game was played out very similarly to the Blue Hose last game at Radford and the last time PC came to High Point on October 28 as neither team would find the back of the net. Both teams had a couple of good opportunities though as the teams swapped yellow cards half-way through the first half.
The yellow card called on PC happened just outside the box which led to a free kick for High Point (10-5-4) from about 20 yards out, it was off to the left side of the goal and the High Point attacker was unable to curve it in to the net as it went wide right.
Presbyterian had an opportunity of their own on a free kick with about four minutes left in the half. Adrian Edo Martin’s shot was on frame but hit directly at High Point’s goal keeper Keegan Meyer. High Point had one more good look at the goal with 30 seconds left in the half but the shot was hit to hard and went high.
In the second half High Point was on the offensive as they would rack up 12 second half shots, only one was on frame. The Blue Hose would have a couple of opportunities to score as well as they would take four shots, two of which were on frame.
From the 70-minute mark to the 80-minute mark High Point took three shots that missed wide by the narrowest of margins. Despite being off-frame these three shots were the best opportunities to score for either team in the 110 minutes of action. The goal keepers combined for seven saves in the game but all of them were shots directly at them.
In the overtime periods the Blue Hose were the team attacking more as they got two shots off, one on frame while High Point was unable to get a single shot off in the 20 minutes of overtime.
For the second game in a row the Blue Hose would advance to the next round of play via penalty kicks. High Point shot first in the PK’s section of the game. The Blue Hose first attempt would get saved by Meyer. High Point hit their first three attempts and with the Blue Hose hitting their next two as well High Point would lead 3-2 going into the fourth kick. High Points fourth kick would be missed high as Siggi Bennonyson, the player who scored his first career goal to beat PC with two seconds left in regulation in the first meeting between the two schools. Edo Martin would hit the fourth attempt for PC to tie it at 3-3. Behrend would record the save on High Point’s fifth kick and Ricardo Hernandez would tally the winning PK giving the Blue Hose the 4-3 advantage.
Big South Tournament Team:
Four players were named to the Big South All-Tournament team, including the MVP, Hernandez. Sergio Pinto, Edo Martin and Behrend were also honored.
Coach Potter’s thoughts on the second half when High Point was attacking as much as they were:
“We just kind of hung into the game, we knew it would be hard to find chances,” said coach Jonathan Potter. “We knew if we defended well we would stand a chance to win the game. All the players, the attacking guys down to the defenders bought into defending and that payed off tonight.”
Thoughts on Behrend’s performance:
“Connor is incredible, he is 6-5, he is a huge body and he reads the penalties so well,” said coach Potter. “We are so lucky to have him here, he is a special talent. I am just so pleased for him for everything he has been through.”
Level of nervousness when High Point led in penalty kicks:
“Yes, a little of course,” said coach Potter. “It is difficult to come back when you are down in penalty kicks but the guys just kept believing and we had faith in them.”
Player of the Game:
The Blue Hose withstood 16 shots in the 110 minutes of action. Behrend came up with two saves but everyone else on the back line played outstanding defense as well intercepting crosses and knocking balls out of bounds giving the defense time to set back up on the few runout chances High Point had.
In overtime Behrend would come up big with a save to give Hernandez a chance to win PK’s on the final kick.
- The Presbyterian College Blue Hose advanced to their first Division I men's soccer NCAA Tournament.
- This is the school's second NCAA Tournament appearance as the men’s tennis team won the Big South and advanced NCAA Tennis Tournament in the spring of 2017.
- It is the first conference tournament title since the 1996 season when the Blue Hose won their second of back to back South Atlantic Conference Titles at the Division II level.
- With the shutout Behrend has now gone 225:12 minutes of game time without allowing a goal. Campbell scored at the 84:48 mark of the Blue Hose quarterfinal game cutting the Blue Hose lead to 2-1.
- This was Behrend’s sixth shutout of the season and number 10 of his career, all over the last two seasons.
- With two saves and zero goals allowed Behrend now has a .781 career save percentage moving him from fourth in Big South history in save percentage to third. He passes Scott Sutarik who had a .780 save percentage for Liberty from 2011-14.
- Opponents are 0-40 in shots the last two games as Behrend has held them at bay, this had the lowered the opponents shooting percentage to .082.
- With the official result being a tie the Blue Hose have now set a new team record for ties in a single season with 5.
- The Blue Hose are now 2-1-3 in six all-time contests in the Big South Tournament.
- They are 2-1 in advancing on penalty kicks.
- PC moves to 6-8-5 on the season while High Point finishes 10-5-4.
- The Blue Hose are now 4-8-3 in 15 contests all-time versus High Point.
The Blue Hose will find out who they face in the NCAA Tournament First round on Monday at 1:00 p.m.