Pirate soccer downs UNCG, earns fifth straight shutout

Published 1:58 pm Saturday, September 13, 2014

ECU Athletic Media Relations

GREENSBORO — Behind Lexi Herring’s 69th-minute goal and Saundra Baron’s four saves, the East Carolina women’s soccer team recorded its fifth shutout in a row in a 1-0 road victory over UNC Greensboro on Friday night.

The last time ECU won five-straight games in shutout fashion was during the 1999 season following wins against Richmond (1-0), VCU (2-0), UNC Wilmington (4-0), Jacksonville (3-0) and Stetson (2-0).

Since allowing a second-half goal to 14th-ranked South Carolina in the season opener Sept. 22, Baron has patrolled the net for all five shutout wins and has now held opposing teams scoreless for 452-consecutive minutes.

“It was a great effort by the team tonight,” head coach Rob Donnenwirth said. “I thought we were very good in the second half with pressing and it led to a great goal by Lexi. Our backs were very good again and Saundra’s big save in the first half was huge for us.”

The Pirates recorded the first shot on goal of the match when sophomore Lana Spitler’s attempt in the 19th minute was smothered by the Spartans’ goalkeeper. UNCG countered just two minutes later with its first corner kick of the night, but East Carolina’s (5-1) defense was able to clear the threat.

At halftime, the Pirates held a 4-2 advantage in shots, but trailed, 1-0, in the corner kicks column.

ECU got what it needed just inside the 70-minute mark Herring intercepted a weak goal kick just 15 yards outside the UNCG goal box, settled the ball and fired a line drive shot past a diving Spartan goalkeeper to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead.

The goal was the senior midfielder’s second of the year, third of her career and has scored twice in the last three games. Her first score of the season came in the team’s 6-0 win at Francis Marion on Sept. 1.

UNC Greensboro (2-4-1) nearly tied the game up less than a minute later on its first possession after allowing the game’s first goal when a cross from the left side found the head of striker Candice Forbes, but clipped the crossbar and continued over the net.

The Pirates held on for the final 20 minutes, finishing the evening with a 10-6 advantage in shots despite a 4-0 deficit in corner kicks. Spitler led the way with three shots (two on goal) in 75 minutes of action, while seniors Kelly Miller and Brianna Spitler each took two shots.

East Carolina will return home Sunday, Sept. 14 to host No. 3 Virginia Tech (8-0) at 3 p.m., at the Johnson Soccer Stadium. The Hokies will be the highest-ranked women’s soccer team to ever play in Greenville.