ECU, Cincinnati battle to 1-1 draw in women’s soccer

ECU Pirates

Maeve English (ECU Sports Information photo)

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CINCINNATI, OHIO – Despite both teams having chances to take the win late in the game, the East Carolina soccer team settled for a 1-1 draw at Cincinnati on Thursday night.

The Pirates are now 4-7-1 on the season with an 0-2-1 AAC record while Cincinnati is 6-4-2 overall and 1-1-1 in league play.

The game started brightly for East Carolina with the Pirates opening the scoring in the first 13 minutes. The goal came out of nowhere as a Pirate throw-in on the right wing looked to be heading over the endline for a Cincinnati goal kick. However, Alexia Moore never gave up on the play and she was able to race to the ball before it went out of bounds and swing a cross into the Cincinnati penalty area. Like Moore, Haley McWhirter reacted quickly and she met Moore’s cross with a powerful header that found the back of the net.

In the 42nd minute, McWhirter nearly doubled her tally. A long cross from Holly Schlagel looped into the Bearcat penalty area where McWhirter was once again there to meet it with a header, but this time Cincinnati goalkeeper Anna Rexford was able to make a diving save to deny McWhirter.

Trailing at the halftime break, Cincinnati came out in the second half looking to tie the game quickly. The Bearcats saw Vanessa DiNardo hit the left post three minutes into the second stanza as well as taking four corner kicks in the first seven minutes. That pressure paid off in the 54th minute. Kendall Battle found space on the left wing and took a shot from a tight angle that nestled just inside of the right upright to tie the game.

With the teams level once again, both teams began to settle in defensively, but there were still chances for both teams to take the lead. Samantha Moxie had a shot in the 72nd minute that looked like it was headed to the bottom left corner of the Cincinnati goal, but Rexford was able to make the save. On the other end, Cincinnati nearly had a dramatic 90th minute winner when DiNardo took a shot, but Maeve English made a diving stop to send the game to overtime.

The Bearcats had the best chance of the first overtime. In the 96th minute, Cincinnati was awarded a free kick just outside of the East Carolina penalty area. The ensuing shot floated towards the Pirate goal, but English was able to dive back and tip the shot onto the crossbar and then swallow up the rebound.

In the second overtime, the Pirates had the first chance to score as a Cincinnati foul in the 102nd minute gave East Carolina an indirect free kick in the box. After a touch by Tori Riggs, Morgan Dewey let fly a shot, but it was just high. The last chance fell to Cincinnati when Battle directed a corner kick towards the Pirate goal, but English was once again there to make the save and snuff out the final threat.

Cincinnati finished with a 17-12 edge in shots and a 7-5 lead in corner kicks. The Bearcats had 63% of the game’s possession and had seven shots on target compared to three for the Pirates. English made six saves in goal for East Carolina while Rexford made two stops for the Bearcats.

East Carolina will be back home on Sunday afternoon for the final nonconference match of the year. The Pirates will host Old Dominion with kickoff scheduled for 4 p.m.

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