GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina soccer team earned a 3-3 tie with defending Conference USA champion Memphis on Sunday at Bunting Field, getting scores from three different players to remain unbeaten in the league. The Pirates' second-consecutive draw pushes their record to 11-3-4 overall and 6-0-4 in conference play while the Tigers are now 11-4-2 on the season and 7-2-1 in C-USA.
The tie means that East Carolina can clinch no worse than a share of the league title in the upcoming C-USA Tournament with a win over Marshall at Bunting Field on Friday. The Pirates could also earn the championship outright with a win and a Memphis loss or tie at UAB on Thursday. ECU would also take the No. 1 seed with a win Friday due to earning two ties against UCF and Colorado College while the Tigers lost to both of those squads.
Memphis dominated possession throughout the game and recorded eight straight shots to begin the contest. However, it was sophomore Bailey Wilcox who put the Pirates ahead in the 30th minute. Freshman Amanda Malkiewicz took a run down the right side of the field and slipped a ball past the defense which found Wilcox, who powered the ball into the net past Tiger keeper Jordan Boyle for her first goal of the season. Memphis would equalize just a minute and a half later, when Elizabeth Hildebrandt crossed the ball from the right side and found the head of Krista Turner, who put it into the back of the net past a diving East Carolina keeper, senior Amber Campbell.
Despite added pressure, the Tigers could not score for the remainder of the stanza as the game balanced, 1-1 at halftime. Memphis outshot the Pirates 14-2 in the first half while fouls were even at four.
A duo of corners won by ECU in the first 10 minutes of the second interval proved valuable, as senior Blair Heffner and sophomore Amanda Broz both beat Boyle, three minutes apart, to give the Pirates a 3-1 lead. Senior Nicole Moore picked up an assist on both plays.
Eleven minutes later, the Tigers rallied, scoring goals by Kylie Hayes and Lizzy Simonin just five minutes apart to even the contest at 3-3 and send it to overtime. The shot margin was much closer in the second half, as Memphis unleashed eight shots as compared to five for East Carolina.
The Tigers had a great chance to end the game in the first overtime period, but Simonin hit the crossbar and was unable to get to the rebound as the Pirate defense cleared.
"Memphis is a team that has great possession and is very dangerous offensively," head coach Rob Donnenwirth commented. "Give our ladies credit though because we battled and stuck to our gameplan very well. We will put this behind and get ready for another important game against Marshall on Friday."
ECU closes out the regular season on Halloween Friday, as it takes on Marshall at Bunting Field. The contest is scheduled for 3 p.m.
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