The East Carolina University (5-6-1, 2-1 AAC) women’s soccer team shut out Tulsa (8-7, 2-3 AAC) on Thursday night at home, giving them a 3-0 victory.
With this win, the Pirates now improve to 5-6-1 and 2-1-0 in conference play. However, Tulsa falls to 8-7-0 and a 2-3-0 AAC record. This was ECU’s first home win this season and is an important victory for the Pirates’ standings in the AAC.
"We're obviously really, really happy with that result," said head coach Jason Hamilton. "I think that's the first time we've had a two or more goal margin in a conference game since I've been here. Conference games are tough. We know who Tulsa are. They battle, they compete and I thought our ladies did a really good job of coming out and competing with them.”
In the first half, ECU dominated over Tulsa in shots, having nine to its three, but neither team could find the back of the net. The Pirates had amazing opportunities to take the lead in the first half with senior forward Jenna Dages having three shots that just missed wide of the left goalpost. Junior midfielder Alexia Moore also had an opportunity to give the Pirates the lead when she found herself free in her opponent’s box, but the Tulsa goalkeeper was able to make the stop.
"We were dangerous in the first half and we had a lot of good chances, we just weren't able to find the back of the goal," Hamilton said. "At halftime, we didn't have to make many adjustments. We just said we're playing really well, but we've got to be a little bit more opportunistic in front of the goal and I thought, in the second half, we did a really good job of being scrappy and battling in the box."
ECU created a surge of energy in the second half as they were able to win themselves a corner kick less than a minute into the restart. Senior forward Daria Draovitch sent the ball into the box and Dages was able to track it down to get a shot off, but it was blocked by the Tulsa keeper. However, the rebound found its way to junior midfielder Tori Riggs and she was able to send it into the back of the net giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead in the 47th minute.
The Pirates were able to find the net again in the second half with another set piece. Junior midfielder Erin Mikalsen was brought down just inside Tulsa’s territory, earning the Pirates a free kick. Junior defender Carsen Parker sent it deep into the Tulsa box. With both teams in the mix, the ball ricocheted off a Tulsa defender and into the net giving ECU a 2-0 advantage in the 69 minute.
ECU was able to end the game in the 72nd minute with another goal that came right after a passing sequence. Redshirt sophomore midfielder Grace Doran was able to spring junior forward Cashlin Copley down the right wing. Copley sent the ball into the Tulsa box and Doran was there to tap it in giving the Pirates a 3-0 advantage.
"It puts us back in the win column and in conference, it puts us in a good position moving forward. But it was kind of a breakout game for us offensively,” Hamilton said. “We got a lot of shots, which we had struggled with the last couple of weeks and we got some goals on the board. I think our team knows where we're at and they know how important the Thursday games are for us with the lack of depth because of the injuries. We told them you just have to come out and leave everything on the field and get a win on Thursday.”
ECU had the advantage in shots to end the match (19-11) and also had six corner kicks to Tulsa’s two. Redshirt junior goalkeeper Melanie Stiles had a total of four saves which completed the sixth shutout for the Pirates this season.
The Pirates will be home again this Sunday inside Johnson Stadium where they will host the University of Memphis (13-1, 5-0 AAC) at 1 p.m.