Pirate Soccer Seeks C-USA Tourney Bid in Regular Season Finale

UABSPORTS.COM Goalkeeper Saundra Baron
Goalkeeper Saundra Baron

Oct. 30, 2013

Match #19: East Carolina (7-8-3, 4-4-1 C-USA) vs. Middle Tennessee State (6-7-4, 3-4-2 C-USA)
Thursday, October 31 at 7 p.m.
Greenville, N.C. - ECU Soccer Stadium
Series Record: 
First-ever meeting
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GREENVILLE, N.C. - Controlling its own destiny for a spot in the 2013 Conference USA Tournament, the East Carolina women's soccer team will close out its regular season slate when it hosts Middle Tennessee State this Thursday, Oct. 31, on Senior Day at the ECU Soccer Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

The Pirates will automatically clinch its third consecutive berth in the C-USA Tournament with a win or tie against the Blue Raiders. ECU can also claim a spot if Marshall loses or ties its road contest against Florida International Thursday evening. The C-USA Tournament will take place Nov. 6-10 in Houston, Texas.

As part of Senior Day festivities, East Carolina (7-8-3, 4-4-1 C-USA) will honor Katelyn Custer, Emmy Frederick, Lexi Miller, Skylar Poole, Danielle Romano and Anne Workman in a postgame ceremony on the field.

East Carolina improved its unbeaten streak to four straight with a 2-2 tie at Rice in its final regular-season road match of the season last Sunday afternoon. Junior forward Stephanie Seagrave and Kendall Frey scored the goals for ECU, who led twice in the match, but could not hold on for a fourth straight win. The Pirates outshot Rice, 24-22, while redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Saundra Baron made seven saves.

After picking up 10 points in the C-USA East Division standings over the last four games, the Pirates are at the center of the C-USA Tournament hunt. A victory guarantees East Carolina (13 points) at least the No. 4 seed in the East, and depending on results from around the conference, could still elevate the team to the No. 1 spot in the division, which is led by FIU with 15 points. ECU's highest-possible seed in the tournament is No. 4 behind Colorado College (22), UTEP (17) and North Texas (16), who own the top three spots in the West Division.

Sophomore striker Kendall Frey has three go-ahead goals in the last four games, bringing her season total to four. Two of those scores were game-winners, coming in the Pirates' 2-1 overtime win at FIU on Oct. 18 and one week later in a 1-0 triumph at Southern Miss on Oct. 25.

The area in front of the East Carolina has looked impenetrable at times this year, as the Pirates have shut out five opponents this year and are yielding just 1.11 goals per game , while holding opponents to a .080 shooting percentage.

Redshirt junior midfielder Skylar Poole has scored three game-winning goals this season, the latest coming against Florida Atlantic on Oct. 20. ECU owns a 7-3-2 record when Poole is in the starting lineup, which includes a 4-0-1 mark in C-USA matches.

Redshirt sophomore midfielder Lexi Herring made her first-career start at Florida International on Oct. 18, and scored her first-career goal just 11 minutes into the match. Herring took a career-high three shots, before matching that effort in the 2-2 at Rice on Oct. 27.

Freshman defender Caitlin Hite has played every minute in 16 of the Pirates' 18 matches during her first campaign, and ranks second on the team in minutes played with 1686, behind only goalkeeper Saundra Baron. Included in that total are five double-overtime games.

ECU's four-game unbeaten streak, which includes three wins and one tie, is its longest since its five-match streak last season, where the Pirates went 2-0-3 from Sept. 30-Oct. 14.

Six East Carolina players, juniors Skylar Poole and Kelly Miller, sophomore Lexi Herring and freshmen Caitlin Hite, Lana Spitler, Jenna Geist and Kelsey Reeves, have scored their first-career goals during the 2013 season.

-The Blue Raiders are coming off a 1-0 home win over FIU last Sunday, but own just a 1-2-3 record in road matches this season.

-MTSU is led by forward Kate Loye, who leads the team in goals (7), points (17), shots (48) and shots on goal (23). Goalkeeper Kelsey Brouwer has been excellent this season, posting seven shutouts and a 0.97 goals-against average in 17 starts.