After weather forced the match to be moved from Thursday evening to Friday morning, the ECU women’s soccer team took care of business and beat Richmond 3-0 in Robins Stadium.
With the win, the Pirates have gone unbeaten in their first five games for only the second time in program history. The first occurred in 2017 when ECU started the season 4-0-1.
“I love the adversity we have been able to put our team through and this was just another test,” said head coach Jason Hamilton. “Having to reschedule the game and then play at 11 a.m., is very much out of the ordinary. Having to play on turf in the heat of the day made it even more challenging.”
ECU (3-0-2) took control of the game with two early goals. First, Grace Doran lofted a pass over the top of the Richmond defense that sent Jenna Dages sprinting into the Richmond box. She was able to strike a shot with her right foot that sailed over a diving Richmond goalkeeper and into the upper right corner of the goal.
Less than three minutes later, Dages was in nearly the exact same spot after another lifted pass from Doran. This time Dages passed along the center of the box where Courtney Cash was there to tap the ball home.
ECU added one more insurance goal late in the second half. Tori Riggs played a through ball to Jayda Hylton-Pelaia into space down the right sideline. Hylton-Pelaia sent a long cross into the Richmond box and the ball went all the way to Marianna Shurina on the back post. Shurina ran onto the cross and scored on a one-time shot for her first goal of the season.
“Our ladies adjusted well to what we needed to do to be successful,” Hamilton said. “I coach them hard even when we have the game in hand. I am trying to prepare them for those moments later in the season when one play is the difference in the game. We want to be ready to handle those moments.”
ECU dominated the stat sheet against Richmond, especially in the first half. The Pirates outshot the Spiders 16-6 in the game, including 9-1 in the opening 45 minutes. ECU also had nine corner’s to Richmond’s two. Melanie Stiles made four saves in goal to complete her first shutout in a Pirate uniform.
“We set two goals for this week as a team,” added Hamilton. “Score first and come away with a shutout. I was happy that we were able to achieve that.”
ECU will continue its road trip on Sunday with a visit to George Mason. The match is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m., kickoff in George Mason Stadium.