HOUSTON, Texas - The East Carolina soccer team earned its second-ever win in Conference USA Tournament play, shutting out SMU 1-0 to advance to the semifinals on Wednesday afternoon at the Rice Soccer Stadium. The Pirates improve to 13-3-4 on the season while the Mustangs end their campaign at 6-13-1. ECU earned its first win in the event since 2002 when it shut out Houston 2-0, also in the quarterfinals.
The Pirates put good pressure on SMU in the first five minutes and it almost paid dividends. Senior Blair Heffner took the ball into the left side of the box unmarked and lifted a shot that bounced off the crossbar and out of bounds. The Mustangs nearly took the lead six minutes in when Logan May had a clear look on goal, but her shot sailed harmlessly wide. Both teams had their chances the rest of the interval but each keeper was up to the challenge, preserving a scoreless game at halftime.
SMU outshot East Carolina 10-7 in the first stanza while each squad earned four corner kicks. The Pirates were not whistled for a foul in the first half as the Mustangs committed four. ECU keeper Amber Campbell recorded four of her eight saves in the interval.
Midfield play was the story in the first 25 minutes of the second half as the teams battled for possession. The Pirates began to press from there and earned a corner kick with 17 minutes left. Junior Alexis Foltz took the kick and found the feet of sophomore Bailey Wilcox, who poked the ball into the right corner of the net for the game-winner and her second tally of the season. SMU could not find their offense in the remaining time as ECU earned their school record 13th win of the season and ninth shutout.
Senior keeper Amber Campbell made eight saves on the day, preserving her ninth shutout of the year and improving her record in goal to 13-3-4. Freshman Amanda Malkiewicz produced two shots while Wilcox also turned in a pair of opportunities.
"I thought our ladies did a great job today," head coach Rob Donnenwirth said. "Nicole Moore's early injury really threw us off in the back but Amanda Broz did a fantastic job stepping in for her. We are pleased with this win and the opportunity to advance in the tournament. We will now get ready for Friday's match.
The Pirates will take the pitch again on Friday, Nov. 7 when they take on either No. 4 UTEP or No. 5 Colorado College in the semifinals of the 2008 C-USA Women's Soccer Championship.