GREENVILLE, N.C. – The East Carolina soccer team completed another successful weekend of Conference USA play, defeating SMU, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon at Bunting Field to remain unbeaten in C-USA and in sole possession of first-place in the league. The Pirates up their record to 10-3-1 on the season and 5-0-1 in conference play while the Mustangs fall to 5-8-1 overall and 3-3-0 in C-USA.
East Carolina’s 10 wins match the second-most in a season for the program as the Pirates garnered the same number of victories in 1997, 1998, 2000, 2001and 2006. The record is 11 set in 1999 and 2002. ECU is also just one conference win shy of matching its most-ever in C-USA as the squad earned six triumphs in 2001, 2004 and 2006.
SMU had the first solid chance of the game in the 12th minute, when Kristin Medeiros found herself with the ball and space at the top of the box. However, her shot glanced off of the crossbar and out of bounds. Nearing halftime, junior Alexis Foltz put the Pirates ahead when she took a nice pass across the box from sophomore Tricia Tufts and powered the ball into the empty net. The score line would stand at 1-0 at the halftime interval. The Mustangs had the slight edge in shots in the stanza, 6-5, while also committing three fouls to ECU’s one.
Both squads had good pressure throughout the second half, but it was freshman Amanda Malkiewicz who scored the eventual game-winner in the 76th minute. Freshman Leah Bagonis took the ball towards the SMU box and slipped it to an oncoming Malkiewicz, who took the pass and had a breakaway on Mustang keeper Courtney Webb. She then slotted the ball into the left corner of the net to give the Pirates a 2-0 advantage. SMU received a goal from Kaitlyn Eidson just three minutes later, but could not get off a shot in the final 10 minutes as the game ended in favor of East Carolina.
The Pirates outshot the Mustangs 12-11 while SMU committed eight fouls as compared to six for ECU. Foltz’ goal is her team-leading fourth in conference matches while Malkiewicz earned her third game-winning tally of the season.
“SMU is a well-coached team, and you could see that by the way they possessed the ball and made us work,” head coach Rob Donnenwirth commented. “We are a very good team when we pressure our opponents for 90 minutes and we had great pressure many times today. The finishes by Alexis and Amanda were great and I am very proud of our effort this weekend.”
East Carolina continues its four-game homestand on Friday, when Colorado College pays a visit to Bunting Field. The match could be a showdown between the first (ECU) and second-place teams in Conference USA, pending the Tigers’ result against UCF today. The contest is scheduled for 4 p.m.