Pirates Win Thriller In Double Overtime
Oct. 10, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina soccer team entered Friday afternoon's match with Tulsa at Bunting Field looking to maintain sole possession of first-place in C-USA and it did just that, using a Blair Heffner strike with just four seconds remaining in the second and final overtime period to produce a 1-0 victory. The Pirates improve to 9-3-1 on the season and an unbeaten 4-0-1 ledger in C-USA while the Golden Hurricane fall to 6-6-2 overall and 1-3-1 in conference play. It was the second consecutive double overtime contest for ECU.
The Pirates had the first chance of the contest in the 10th minute, but Heffner's opportunity went just wide. With little to no offense in the first half, the teams battled in the midfield and entered halftime scoreless. ECU outshot Tulsa 5-2 in the stanza while committing six fouls, as compared to two for the visitors. Additionally, both keepers made two saves.
It was more of the same midfield play at the beginning of the second half, but the Pirates pressed with about 20 minutes remaining in the contest, looking for the game-winner. East Carolina came close to scoring in the 70th minute, as junior Alexis Foltz' opportunistic shot beat Hurricane keeper Kendal Halclerode but not the woodwork, bouncing off the right post and harmlessly out of bounds. Despite the pressure, regulation ended without a goal between the teams. The Pirates peppered the Tulsa net with eight shots in the second half while both squads committed three fouls.
After an uneventful first overtime and nine minutes of the second overtime, the contest looked as if it would end without a winner. However, ECU won a corner kick with 15 seconds remaining. Senior Nicole Moore took the kick from the right corner flag and found the head of freshman Jessica Woodward. Woodward's header found the feet of Heffner and the senior slotted the ball past Halclerode with just four seconds remaining for the golden goal.
"Tulsa is a tough team to break down offensively," head coach Rob Donnenwirth stated. "We had some good chances throughout the game but could never seem to put the final touch away. Blair did a good job of putting herself in the right place for the game-winning goal, as she also did at Southern Miss."
Senior Amber Campbell produced her seventh shutout of the season and now has a school-record 27 for her career. It was also her fourth clean sheet in conference play. Additionally, Campbell made four saves and is now just 15 back of Amy Horton for the career lead. Heffner's tally was her team-leading fourth of the season and third game-winning goal.
The Pirates recorded 20 shots on the contest, a season-high mark. With the win, the squad is just two conference victories shy of tying for the most in the program's seven-plus seasons as a member of C-USA. The 4-0-1 start to conference play is also the best-ever start to conference play.
East Carolina returns to the pitch on Sunday when it hosts SMU. The battle between the Pirates and Mustangs is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Bunting Field.