HIGH POINT, N.C. – A goal in the 82nd minute from Maycie McDougal propelled the East Carolina soccer team to a 2-1 win at High Point on Sunday afternoon.
“We are extremely proud of the ladies and their fight today,” said Head Soccer Coach Jason Hamilton. “That was an extremely hot day and being on the turf made it seem a lot hotter than it was. They are a very hard team to play against and will have a lot of success this season.”
East Carolina improves to 2-2-0 on the season while High Point falls to 0-3-1.
Early on, the East Carolina pressure allowed the Pirates to turn the Panthers over deep in their own end and led to goal scoring opportunities. Haley McWhirter took a pair of shots that just missed the frame of the goal and Holly Schlagel took a shot that forced High Point goalkeeper Morgan Hairston into a save.
The pressure paid off in just the fourth minute. McWhirter dropped a pass off to Tori Riggs between the halfway line and the Panther box. Riggs hesitated to freeze a High Point defender and then pushed the ball into space and onto her right foot. The graduate student then launched a long-range missile that flew past a diving Hairston into the top left corner of the goal.
After Riggs’ opening goal, High Point began to gain some footing in the game and unfortunately for ECU, that soon led to a Panther goal. In the 15th minute, Skyler Prillaman sent a ball into the Pirate penalty area. Prillaman’s pass took an unlucky deflection off a Pirate defender and rolled into the goal to tie the score at 1-1.
“We had a great start to the game, creating some good looks at goal and scoring early,” Hamilton said. “I think we kind of took our foot off the gas a little after that first goal and allowed them to get back into the game.”
After heading into halftime still tied at one goal apiece, the Pirates were the aggressor in the second half. ECU took the first three shots of the second half and did not allow a High Point shot until the 75th minute. However, the Pirates struggled to turn the pressure into a goal.
In a game that saw multiple hydration breaks due to the high heat, it was a moment of putting in the extra effort that eventually was the difference. Off a Pirate throw-in during the 82nd minute, McWhirter was able to turn away from a Panther defender and launch a shot from the top of the box. Her effort had Hairston beat, but crashed off the crossbar and back into the penalty area. Maycie McDougal raced in to follow the shot and was rewarded when the rebound fell to her, with McDougal tucking the ball home for the game-winning goal. It was the first goal of McDougal’s ECU career.
The Pirates did not rest on their laurels in the final eight minutes. Peyton Godbey had a shot saved by Hairston and then Riggs got free on a breakway, but Hairston made a kick save on her shot. On the other end, the Pirate defense did not allow High Point to take any shots as they closed out the win.
“We wanted to go in tied or ahead at halftime, knowing that we have a very deep bench. Credit to High Point, they made some very good adjustments in the second half, but our ladies dug deep and fought hard.”
ECU finished with a dominant 22-7 edge in shots, including 10-1 in the second half. The Pirates took four corners to just one for the Panthers while High Point held 51% of possession. In the goal, English finished with four saves for ECU while Hairston had seven stops for High Point.
The Pirates will be back home on Thursday night when they host Campbell. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., and the match will be broadcast on ESPN+.