Greenville, N.C. – Returning home after its first loss of the season, the ECU women’s soccer team bounced back with a 2-0 win over visiting Campbell on Thursday night in Johnson Stadium.
“Of course it’s great to get a win but we can still improve in so many areas,” said head coach Jason Hamilton. “To get 27 shots, and 14 of those are on goal, we have to come away with more.”
Control of the game belonged almost entirely to ECU (4-1-2) during the first half, as the Pirates outshot the Camels 15-2 during the opening stanza. ECU came close to opening the scoring in the 16th minute during a frantic sequence. First, Tori Riggs raced into the Campbell (1-5-0) box, but the onrushing goalkeeper was able to slide and block her shot. The ball deflected out to Grace Doran who took a shot of her own, but the goalkeeper raced back to make another sliding stop. Once again the rebound deflected to an ECU player, this time back to Riggs, whose cross into the box slipped just inches past the foot of Jenna Dages who was trying to slam it home.
Three minutes later, ECU took the lead on a spectacular solo effort. Jayda Hylton-Pelaia collected the ball on the right wing and cut inside a pair of Campbell defenders to find space at the top of the box. Hylton-Pelaia used the time and space to line up a shot and let fly an effort that found the bottom right corner of the Campbell goal to open the scoring. The goal was the first of Hylton-Pelaia’s collegiate career.
ECU chances to doubles it’s lead again and again, but could not score the important insurance goal for more than 40 minutes. Finally, it was another ECU defender that salted the game away. Kim Sanford was the first to reach a loose ball as it drifted towards the Campbell goal and her speed allowed her to push forward on a breakaway. With a defender closing in from behind and the goalkeeper trying to cut down on her angle, Sanford calmly slotted the ball inside the far post for the insurance goal.
With the comfortable lead, ECU was able show its depth as 22 Pirates got into the game, with 21 of them playing at least 10 minutes.
“We have been playing some players a lot of minutes,” commented Hamilton. “So it was nice to use a little more of our bench this game.”
Campbell did have a few chances to get back into the game during the second half. The Camels had one long range shot hit the crossbar and bounce away and had another shot from the middle of the ECU box, but Melanie Stiles tipped the shot up and over the crossbar to avert the danger.
“Credit to Campbell, they came out in the second half and worked their tails off,” Hamilton said. “They put us under pressure and we became a little bit undisciplined.”
Overall, ECU finished with a 27-9 edge in shots while both teams took five corner kicks apiece. Stiles made four stops for her second shutout of the season while Erin Scott made 12 saves for Campbell.
“We can’t be satisfied where we are at,” added Hamilton. “We have to keep growing as a team and push forward to improve every day.”
ECU plays its final home match of the non-conference slate this Sunday against Charlotte. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m., in Johnson Stadium.