Nov. 6, 2013
HOUSTON – East Carolina sophomore striker Kendall Frey continued her hot streak with a game-winning goal in the first overtime period to give the Pirates a 1-0 victory over UTEP in the quarterfinals of the 2013 Conference USA Women’s Soccer Championships, Wednesday afternoon at Rice University’s Holloway Field.
The goal was Frey’s team-leading sixth of the season and fifth in the last six games. East Carolina (9-8-3, 5-4-1 C-USA) has posted a 5-0-1 mark during that span.
Frey also scored a golden goal when ECU’s unbeaten streak began on Oct. 18 in a 2-1 overtime win at Florida International. All of the Chester Springs, Pa., native’s goals have been of the go-ahead variety.
“It’s been a long haul for her because she was injured during the summer,” said head coach Rob Donnenwirth. “The first time she started running again was during the preseason. She’s just a really strong target player. I thought UTEP did a very good job on her, but she pounced on her chance.”
The first half was relatively silent for both teams, with the Pirates’ best scoring chance coming in the seventh minute on a shot by redshirt junior defender Danielle Romano that was saved. UTEP (12-6-3, 5-3-2 C-USA) was arguably more possessive of the ball than ECU in the period, outshooting the Pirates by an 8-3 margin and owning a 4-0 edge in corner kick chances.
East Carolina regrouped at the intermission and came out of the locker rooms determined to turn the tide and become more aggressive in the second half. The Pirates applied immense pressure on the Miners’ defense for much of the period, taking 11 shots and nine corner kicks.
A couple of ECU’s best chances came on a pair of corner kicks by Romano in the 60th minute, but both opportunities yielded from any changes to the score. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Saundra Baron had to make several acrobatic saves to keep the Miners off the scoreboard, as the two sides finished regulation knotted at zero.
UTEP took three quick shots in the opening four minutes of the first overtime period, but the first time the Pirates took advantage of a miscue by the Miners’ defense in the 96th minute of the game that proved fatal for the West Division’s No. 3 seed.
UTEP appeared to be making another attempt in its up-tempo attack it started the overtime period with, until freshman defender and First Team All-Conference USA selection, Caitlin Hite, stripped an opposing forward of possession and cleared the ball all the way to the central part of the Miners’ goal box at the other end of the field.
After a failed clear by goalkeeper, Sarah Dilling, who charged the oncoming ball from Hite and deflected it off a nearby defender on the attempt, Frey collected the loose ball in the open field approximately 25 yards out and used one touch to place the ball directly into the center of the gaping UTEP net.
The Miners outshot the Pirates, 23-15, but both teams posted six shots on goal and took nine corner kicks, respectively.
East Carolina will face top-seeded Colorado College on Friday, Nov. 8, in the semifinals at 3:30 p.m. (ET).