Pirates hold on for 16-14 season-opening lacrosse victory over Furman

ECU Pirates

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GREENVILLE, N.C. – An early lead dwindled down to just a single goal, but the ECU lacrosse team held on for a 16-14 win over Furman on Friday afternoon in Johnson Stadium.

ECU (1-0) got outstanding offensive efforts from four different players. Nicole LeGar led everyone with six points on two goals and four assists. Megan Pallozzi missed tying the school-record by a single goal, finishing with five goals to her name. MacKell Schultes and Megan Tryniski each had four points, Schultes got there by scoring four goals while Tryniski tallied one goal and set up three others.

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At the draw circle, LeGar led all Pirates with eight draw controls while Frances Kimel and Payton Barr each had four. Kimel added three ground balls, tying her with Ashley Vernon for the team lead while Alexandra Giacalone scooped up two in her collegiate debut. Courtney Frank caused a team-high three turnovers in her first game in a Pirate uniform while Sam Caputo added two caused turnovers of her own. Vernon finished with 10 saves in the crease for ECU to pick up the win.

ECU grabbed control of the game with a commanding 8-0 run after falling behind 2-1 in the early going. Schultes, Pallozzi and LeGar all scored twice during that run with Tryniski getting a goal and two assists. Vernon and the Pirate defense held Furman scoreless for nearly 18 minutes on the other end.

After a pair of Furman goals cut into ECU’s lead, Pallozzi completed her first half hat trick. The Paladins added two more goals before Kimel scored with just six seconds on the clock to make the score 11-6 heading into the locker room.

After Furman scored the opening goal of the second half, Pallozzi ripped off a pair of goals in just 43 seconds followed by Schultes completing her own hat trick to stake ECU to a 14-7 lead with less than 19 minutes remaining.

However, three straight Furman goals, two of which came with a player-advantage, made it just a four-goal game with Furman still owning the numbers advantage. However, Barr won the ensuing draw and ran a quick give-and-go with LeGar before finding the back of the net to momentarily stall Furman’s momentum.

The Paladins continued to push forward though. Four straight goals by Furman over the next eight minutes cut the lead to just a single goal with 2:46 remaining.

With the game hanging in the balance, it was Schultes who made the clutch play. She cut in from the left side, beating her defender and scoring on the individual effort to give ECU some breathing room again.

Schultes goal proved to be the final of the game as the Pirate defense prevented Furman from getting any good looks in the final two minutes, giving ECU the victory.

Furman finished with a slight 30-25 edge in shots and a 25-22 lead in shots on goal. Both teams had 15 turnovers. The Paladins had a 21-15 edge in ground balls but the Pirates held a 17-14 advantage in draw controls.

The Pirates will hit the road for the first time in the 2021 season when they travel to Charlotteville, Va., to take on Virginia on Monday afternoon. That contest is slated to start at 4 p.m.

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