Parker scores twice, leads ECU women’s soccer to 3-2 win at SMU

Carsen Parker - ECU Women's Soccer
Carsen Parker - ECU Women's Soccer(ECU Athletics)
Published: Mar. 21, 2021 at 5:36 PM EDT
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DALLAS (ECU) – Carsen Parker scored a career-best two goals to lift ECU women’s soccer to a 3-2 overtime win over SMU on Sunday afternoon.

“Of course we are thrilled with the results and getting the three points on the road,” said head coach Jason Hamilton. “Our group showed great character today to come back from behind that late in the game.”

ECU improves to 2-3-2 on the season and 2-1-2 in the AAC while SMU falls to 1-1-0 both overall and in league play.

“We did not do the best job of executing our game plan and made it tougher than we wanted to,” added Hamilton. “Road games are hard in this conference. We got in late last night and had to turn around and play a midday game.”

The Pirates were on the front foot for much of the first half, outshooting SMU 7-4. Five of those ECU shots were on frame, but SMU goalkeeper Samantha Estrada made five stops to keep the game scoreless at the halftime break.

Both teams came out firing in the second half. SMU had the first big chance when Jewel Boland got behind the Pirate defense, but her shot bounced off the right goalpost and out. Sydney Schnell and Addison Salz each had shots for ECU that were on frame, but Estrada made saves on both.

The first breakthrough came in the 61st minute. Tori Riggs collected the ball just outside of the SMU box and burst past a defender into the penalty area. Before Riggs could release a shot, she was brought down from behind, earning ECU a penalty kick. Parker stepped up to take it for the Pirates and calmly slotted it to the right side of the goal, opening the scoring.

ECU’s lead did not last long. In the 65th minute, Boland found space in the middle of the field and lined up a long distance shot. Her effort was enough to beat a diving Maeve English and tie the game once again.

With the clock ticking to under five minutes remaining, it looked like ECU might be done in by a piece of bad luck. Off a SMU corner kick, the Pirates repelled the initial danger and were looking to clear the ball out of the ECU box, but the clear took a deflection off an SMU player and bounced into the ECU goal, giving SMU a 2-1 lead.

The Pirates needed a quick response and a pair of seniors combined to drag ECU back into the game. Parker, playing up near the SMU box, came back towards a floating long ball and flicked it onwards toward the Mustang penalty area. Riggs was the quickest to it, racing onto the pass and chipping over the onrushing Estrada to tie the game at 2-2 with just 1:18 left in regulation.

Heading to overtime for the fourth time in five conference games, the Pirates had the experience in extra periods. It did not take long for that experience to pay dividends. Less than four minutes into the first extra period, Morgan Dewey launched a long ball with her left foot that cleared the heads of the entire SMU defense. Parker timed her run to latch onto Dewey’s pass and run clear in on goal, where she placed the ball past Estrada and into the back of the net for the game-winning goal. It was the second time this season that Dewey and Parker have combined for a game-winning goal, the first coming in a 1-0 overtime win over Houston.

“A lot of credit to SMU, they came out and battled,” Hamilton finished. “They made it tough on us. We haven’t been great in front of goal so that is probably the biggest positive to take away from today’s game.”

East Carolina finished with a 17-13 edge in shots and an 11-2 lead in shots on goal. Both teams took seven corners on the day. English finished with one save while Estrada had eight saves for the Mustangs.

Next Up: ECU will be back home next Saturday, March 27 to take on Cincinnati. Kickoff is slated for 12 p.m. at Johnson Stadium with the game streaming live on ESPN+.

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