TAMPA, Fla. – For the first time in program history, the East Carolina soccer team went into Corbett Stadium and emerged victorious on Thursday by a 2-0 margin against South Florida.
The win snapped an 11-game skid against the Bulls and put the Pirates atop the table in the American Athletic Conference’s East Division.
After a fast-paced first half, the Pirates (7-2-3) opened the scoring in the 41st minute when Catherine Holbrook gathered an attempted South Florida (5-5-1) clearance and took it down to the goal line on the right side of the 18-yard box. Holbrook teed up a perfect cross which floated over the outstretched glove of Leire Herraez Gallach and down to the foot of Lucy Fazackerley who drilled the ball home at the far post.
The Pirates may not have been in that position, though, if not for Maggie Leland. Leland entered the game just 4:52 into the contest when Maeve English was forced to exit briefly due to injury. Called into duty, the senior did not miss a beat and immediately made a strong-handed lunging save in the left side of the net to prevent an early goal for the Bulls.
After a high-tension start to the second half, the Pirates pushed their advantage to 2-0 in the 77th minute when Jazmin Ferguson, while attempting to head a cross took a shove to the back inside the 18. The referee pointed to the spot for a penalty kick taken by Abby Sowa who absolutely buried the ball in the back of the net.
The Bulls spent the final 13 minutes and change of the contest pressing hard in hopes of clawing back into the game, but the Pirate defense proved steady and cleared away chance after chance. Though she only got credited with two saves, English was fantastic, along with her high-scoring back line, keeping control of the game as the Pirates pushed for the win.
The clean sheet was the seventh of the season for ECU which matches English’s career high set last season. The Pirates have also already matched their season goal total from a year ago with 16 so far in 2023, with six games left to play.
- At 7-2-3, the Pirates have their best record since starting 8-3-1 way back in 2008.
- The Pirates defeated South Florida for the first time since Oct. 29, 2004, and for the first time ever on the road.
- The substitution in the first half was the first time Maeve English had exited a match in 4,331 minutes and seven seconds. She had last checked out against VMI way back in 2021, a 4-0 win.
- The Pirates back line has accounted for six of the 16 goals scored by the team on the season.
The Pirates finally return home on Thursday, Oct. 5 to play host to the Temple Owls in Johnson Stadium. The match is free to attend and will be available for streaming on ESPN+