The 49ers started their 1-0 victory over the High Point Panthers firing on all cylinders both offensively and defensively.
In the first half, the 49ers continued to play stout defense, holding the Panthers to three first-half shots and zero shots until the 30th minute.
“You saw today there was some really good penalty box defending,” said Head Coach Kevin Langan. “I don’t think Elliot made any of his breath-taking saves that he’s capable of, which speaks testament to all the guys in front of him.”
On offense, the 49ers tallied six shots on goal in the first 20 minutes. However, the 49ers could not find the back of the net until Langan subbed Cooper Nugent into the game in the 43rd minute. One minute after being subbed in, Nugent scored the 49ers’ lone goal of the game off of a corner kick with one minute left in the half.
“I’m absolutely delighted and so proud of Cooper and I know everyone in our program is [proud of him],” said Langan. “He is a lesson to us all how he fought back from injuries. He just wouldn’t say no.”
In the second quarter, despite orchestrating numerous drives with scoring potential, the 49ers offense did not score. Langan noted that it seemed the offense was operating well and putting themselves in scoring positions but kept looking for the extra pass as opposed to shooting.
“We got into those great positions [to score], but for some reason, we are a bit gun-shy. We just wouldn’t take the shot. We were trying to find the extra pass,” said Langan.
Late in the second half, the Panthers began to drive deep into 49er territory and threaten to tie the game. In the 83rd, 86th, 88th and 89th minute, the Panthers had opportunities to score off of corner kicks, penalty kicks and drives deep down the field, yet the 49ers defense prevailed each time, clinching the victory in the 89th minute when redshirt sophomore Delasi Batse stole the ball from a High Point forward attempting to create a last-minute scoring drive for the Panthers.
The 49ers finished the game with eleven shots and eight corner kicks compared to nine shots and three corners for the Panthers.
Before the 49ers’ next matchup against Coastal Carolina, Langan wants the team to focus on recovery.
“To prepare for the next game, we have to rest,” said Langan. “The games come thick and fast now as they do in college soccer.”
Additionally, Langan believes that playing High Point, which plays a similar style to Coastal Carolina, will help them be more prepared for the Chanticleers.
“We’ll get ready for Coastal, they’ll be another opponent [that will] play very similar to High Point,” said Langan. “It’ll help us a lot for Coastal.”
Charlotte looks to continue their win streak against Coastal Carolina at home on Friday, Sept. 6 at 7 p.m.