ROCK HILL, SC—For the second straight game, Winthrop men’s soccer will square off against one of the top offenses in the country when it takes on High Point Saturday evening at 5 p.m. at Vert Stadium.
The Eagles, boasting the nation’s 3rd-ranked offense heading into Wednesday’s loss to Coastal Carolina, have lost four straight games and now sit at 7-4-1 overall and 1-3 in the Big South. Coastal Carolina was ranked 19th in the nation at 2.0 goals per game while High Point is averaging 1.82.
The four-game losing streak is the longest since the 2011 season when the team lost seven straight and finished the season 7-12. Winthrop has also lost three straight to the Panthers and were defeated 6-0 in the last meeting at Vert Stadium. Winthrop is in need of some league wins if it hopes to qualify for the Big South Conference Championship, which it is currently tied for last with only one league victory.
Max Hasenstab continues to lead the Eagles offense with seven goals and five assists. Hasenstab was named to TopDrawerSoccer.com’s Top 100 NCAA Division I Freshmen on Friday as he is ranked 11th. Senior Achille Obougou is second on the team with five goals and two assists. The midfield will get a boost with the return of senior Mason Lavallet as he missed the matchup with Coastal Carolina after a red card at Liberty. Lavallet has two goals and an assist on the season and has the ability to create opportunities for the offense.
Junior Guilherme Avelar left Wednesday’s game at halftime and was replaced by freshman Fabian Broich, who made some very impressive saves and finished with seven in the game. It’s up in the air on who will go against High Point.
High Point is coming off a 1-1 tied at West Virginia on Tuesday and is 4-6-2 overall and 2-1-1 in the league. The Panthers have won two of their last three league games with the only loss coming at home in double-overtime to Coastal Carolina (ranked 19th at the time).
The Panthers offense features the league’s top scorer in Mamadee Nyepon, who has 10 goals and two assists. The junior forward has not scored in the last three goals, which is the longest stretch of the season. He did pick up an assist in the loss to the Chanticleers. He did score a goal in six straight games at one point this season.
Sophomore Austin Yearwood has been very good at serving up scoring opportunities as he leads the league with six assists from his defensive position. Another defender, sophomore Erien Campbell, has been involved offensively as he has three goals on the year. Redshirt freshman Pat Shelton is second on the team in scoring with three goals and an assist.
The Panthers have gone with two goalkeepers pretty evenly on the season with Kody Palmer and Ryan Massey each playing in seven games. Palmer, a redshirt sophomore, is 3-2-1 on the year with a 1.54 goals against average and has been in goal the past two games. Massey is 1-4-1 on the year with a 2.85 goals against average.
This will be the 21st meeting between Winthrop and High Point. The Eagles through the years have had the better of this series holding a 14-5-1 mark, but have lost three straight and four of the last five to the Panthers. In the last three games, Winthrop has been outscored 11-2.