This post appears here courtesy of ECU Sports
DALLAS, Texas The East Carolina soccer team delivered the No. 19 SMU Mustangs their first loss of the season on Thursday evening with a 2-1 win in Washburne Stadium. With the win, the Pirates' streak moves to seven games unbeaten and snaps SMU's streak at seven.
The Mustangs opened up the scoring in the 33rd minute when, after an initial Maeve English diving save, Julissa Cisneros flicked a rebounding chance from the left side of the box into the back of the net. The goal was the first allowed in the run of play by ECU in 611 minutes and 26 seconds.
The Pirates refused to go into the half trailing, though, as in the 41st minute, Isabella Gutiérrez took a pass form Lindsey Aiken about 30 yards out and was in the clear behind SMU's back line. The freshman took the ball the rest of the way herself and put a shot just under the outstretched leg of goalkeeper Tatum Sutherland for the goal. The goal was Gutiérrez' second of the year.
Gutiérrez' goal continues a trend for ECU of not waiting long after conceding a goal to strike back. After giving up scores in the last three contests it has taken the Pirates only 5:00, 10:40 and 7:45, respectively, to even the score.
It was SMU who dominated possession and scoring chances in the second half of the game with only the occasional counter opportunity for the Pirates. The Mustangs led 5-1 on corners and 6-2 on shots in the period but, as the story goes, it only takes one.
Three games in a row now, the Pirates have stolen victory from the jaws of a draw and it happened Thursday in the 86th minute. Aiken took the ball down the right side of the pitch, crossed the ball into the box where Sydney Schnell made a miraculous backheel flick to Annabelle Abbott who punched the ball in from point blank range for the game-winning goal.
The Pirates have now won three-straight contests on late heroics. Game winning goals against George Mason, Florida and SMU have come in the 90th minute, 85th minute and 86th minute, respectively. The goal was Abbott's second of the year, the assists were Schnell and Aiken's third - and second of the contest for Aiken.
Defensively, English 'only' made four saves on the game, but they were nothing short of critical. Most notable perhaps was her miraculous stop in the 82nd minute which kept the score level.
- SMU had not conceded a goal at home since their opener against Rice on August 18.
- The Pirates were outshot 15-5 but were even 5-5 in shots on goal.
- Three assists for the Pirates matches the season high set in the win over Old Dominion on Aug. 28.
- The win over a ranked opponent is the first since ECU stunned then-No. 23 Memphis last season, also by a score of 2-1.
"Extremely proud of our TEAM tonight!"
said Head Coach Gary Higgins. "We just beat a very, very good SMU team on the road. We had to dig deep and defend as a unit for periods of the game , but when you do that with discipline and passion, then all it takes is one opportunity on the break, and we took it when it was given to us."
"We will enjoy this win tonight,"
Higgins continued. "But our focus will shift quickly to a strong William & Mary team on Sunday at home. Rest, recover and we will go again on Sunday. Thanks and Go Pirates!"