Soccer Nets Crucial Win Over UTEP, 2-1
Oct. 19, 2008
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina soccer team closed a four-game C-USA homestand on Sunday afternoon, welcoming third-place UTEP to Bunting Field. On the strength of a second half strike from junior Jessica Swanson, the Pirates produced a 2-1 win to remain in sole possession of first place in the league and also clinch a berth in the upcoming C-USA Tournament which will decide the conference's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The top eight teams in the standings earn a spot in the C-USA Tournament. ECU now owns an 11-3-2 record overall and an unblemished 6-0-2 mark in conference play while the Miners fall to 11-5-1 on the season and 4-3-1 in C-USA.
With the victory, the Pirates tied for the most overall and C-USA victories in a season in program history. Additionally, senior goalkeeper Amber Campbell tied the school career record for saves, as she now has 352. She now shares the standard with Amy Horton. Campbell now owns the East Carolina career records for shutouts, goalkeeper minutes and saves.
UTEP put the pressure on the Pirate defense early in the contest. The Miners nearly scored the first goal of the game in the fourth minute when Tameka Sumter stole the ball from the defense and broke in on Campbell. However, Campbell was in good position to knock the ball out for a UTEP corner.
Despite the constant pressure on the ECU backline, it was a freshman who put the Pirates ahead. A seemingly harmless goal kick by Campbell bounced past everyone on the field except forward Kimmy Cummings, who found the ball in the right side of the box and lifted it over Miner keeper Chandra Morden and into the right netting to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later, UTEP equalized when Cara Nordin drove into the box with the ball and found an unmarked teammate, Brandi Aston, who easily put the ball away to even the contest. The game would remain 1-1 at halftime as the Miners enjoyed an 8-6 advantage in shots.
Just eight minutes into the second half, UTEP was dealt a crucial blow when Jordan Freiburg was sent off with a red card for a violent tackle. East Carolina then found more space in the midfield, which opened up its attack. A Pirate corner in the 65th minute proved to be valuable as Nicole Moore served a nice ball that found the head of Swanson, who found the back of the net for the game-winner. Despite being down a player in the last 30 minutes, the Miners still possessed the ball but could only record a single shot.
"This was of course a big win for us but there are still nine points left up for grabs in the standings," head coach Rob Donnenwirth commented. "UTEP has some great attacking players and they played with intensity. We did a good job of staying composed and not retaliating after fouls. We will take this result and get ready for a very good UAB team in Birmingham on Friday."
East Carolina plays its final road conference game of the season on Friday when it travels to Birmingham, Ala. to face UAB. The match is scheduled for 8 p.m. at West Campus Field.