GREENVILLE, N.C. – A season-high in goals helped propel the East Carolina soccer team to a 4-0 Senior Night win over Tulsa on Saturday night in Johnson Stadium.
“We couldn’t be more proud of our group today for the performance they had,” said head coach Jason Hamilton. “It was a great tribute to our seniors for their teammates to go out and work that hard to get them a win on their last game in Johnson Stadium.”
ECU improves to 3-4-2 overall and 3-2-2 in AAC play while Tulsa is 1-6-0 both overall and in league games.
The Pirates were the aggressor in the early going, with much of their pressure resulting in corner kicks. ECU took seven corner kicks in the first 18 minutes and the seventh provided the breakthrough. Tori Riggs swung a cross towards the back post and Carsen Parker headed it towards goal. With the ball just in front of the goal line, Madie Knaggs was there to slam it home for the game’s opening goal.
ECU continued to press forward, looking to double its advantage. The Pirates got what they were looking in the 29th minute. Cashlin Copley scrambled onto a loose ball outside the Tulsa box. Copley lofted a cross into the box and Annabelle Abbott was able to head it home. It was the first goal of Abbott’s collegiate career.
Taking that 2-0 lead into the halftime, the Pirates were not satisfied and this time it was Copley who got the finishing touch. Parker found Copley in space near the top of the Tulsa box. Copley was able to control the ball and then tuck a low shot inside the goalpost to make it 3-0. Copley joined Knaggs in scoring after being honored on Senior Night.
The final tally came in the 80th minute. A cross from Sydney Schnell from the left wing reached Charlotte Holbrook on the right side of the Tulsa box. Holbrook’s shot looped over the Tulsa goalkeeper and caught the underside of the crossbar, dropping into the back of the net. It was the first goal of Holbrook’s collegiate career and the first ECU assist for Schnell.
With the Pirates leading 4-0, the only drama over the final 10 minutes was whether ECU could hold onto the clean sheet. It looked like the Golden Hurricane would get on the scoreboard in the 82nd minute when it earned a penalty kick. But Maeve English dove to her left to stop Averee Dubach’s effort to keep the shutout intact.
“For you to have two seniors show up on the scoreboard on Senior Day is a pretty cool thing,” Hamilton said. “I think that was the most complete game we had all season and really executed our game plan on both sides of the ball.”
The Pirates had a large 20-9 edge in shots and a 10-3 advantage in corner kicks. Copley finished with a goal and an assist on her Senior Night while Parker had the pair of helpers. English finished with six stops for the Pirates to complete her second shutout of the year.
“This conference is so tough and coming down to the last weekend, there are still so many things that could happen to determine the final four that will advance to the conference tournament,” Hamilton added. “We know that if we can go out and get a result that we can control our own destiny. That will be our focus this week.”
The Pirates will finish the regular season next Sunday when they head to Memphis for a 2 p.m., contest.