Pirates Push Past Southern Miss, 3-1
Oct. 2, 2009
GREENVILLE, N.C. – Two late goals by a pair of freshmen lifted the East Carolina soccer team to a 3-1 victory over Southern Miss Friday afternoon at Bunting Field. Caty Butler scored the game-winning goal at 64:41 and Chrissy Gratz added the insurance tally at the 82:12 mark.
The victory gives the Pirates (7-2-2, 2-1 C-USA) their eighth straight triumph over the Golden Eagles (4-5-0, 0-3 C-USA). The three goals are tied for the most Southern Miss has given up this season and are the second most ECU has ever scored against Southern Miss.
“The bottom line is that we came away with a win,” head coach Rob Donnenwirth said. “Southern Miss makes things difficult and they do not allow many goals. We were doing some things differently today and I think it took our players a little while to get used to it.”
For the second consecutive game, the Pirates struck for a goal within the first five minutes and took a 1-0 lead into the half. Junior Bailey Wilcox scored her sixth goal of the season at 4:27 from assists by freshmen Gratz and Rachel Wechsler.
ECU received a throw-in taken by Wechsler, who tossed the ball deep down the left sideline. Gratz collected the ball and sent a centering pass into the box that Wilcox hammered into the back of the net. Gratz and Wechsler share the team lead in assists with five, tied for the third most in Conference USA.
Wilcox’s shot was the Pirates’ first of the game and one of only three in the half. The East Carolina defense also limited the Southern Miss offense to three shots in the opening period. Samantha DeFatta and Samantha Polley fired the Golden Eagles' two shots on goal in the first frame.
To begin the second half, ECU’s Jessica Swanson took a shot 51 seconds in, but Southern Miss goalkeeper Holly Cox made the save.
The Golden Eagles responded as they received a corner kick at 51:24. Bianca Ontiveros took a shot off the corner-kick pass from Liz Hamlin. Ontiveros’ shot was stopped by Pirate goalkeeper Berit Hansen, but Hansen could not control the ball and allowed a rebound. Tricia Tillman collected the loose ball and scored her first goal of the season, tying the game at 1-1.
The deadlock lasted until 64:41, when Butler scored her first goal of the season. The Southern Miss defense was trying to clear the ball out of the goal box but misplayed the ball. Butler got her foot on the loose ball and shot it into the back of the net for the game-winning goal. It was the Pirates’ second straight victory in which a freshman scored her first collegiate goal and had it be the game-winner.
“We have been waiting for Caty to have her breakout game and I think that happened tonight,” Donnenwirth stated. “She has a great shot and fired a nice one-timer for her goal.”
Wilcox and Butler each had shots on goal within the next seven minutes, but both attempts were stopped by Cox.
Southern Miss’ Elisha Tarbell took a shot at 77:36, but Hansen made the save. That was the final shot of the contest for the Golden Eagles.
Gratz scored ECU’s insurance goal, her second of the season. The play was set up by Amanda Malkiewicz, who broke behind the Southern Miss defense and then found Gratz for the score. With the assist, Malkiewicz has tallied points in the team’s past four games.
“We had two freshmen score goals and two had assists for us tonight,” Donnenwirth added. “Our freshmen are certainly making a positive impact on our team this season.”
East Carolina concludes the weekend’s action hosting No. 21 UCF Sunday at 1 p.m. The Pirates will be looking for their first-ever victory over the nationally-ranked Knights.