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Quite the kickoff

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Grace Doran (12) celebrates after giving East Carolina a 2-0 lead against Radford on Sunday night at Johnson Stadium.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, August 19, 2018

East Carolina women’s soccer continued an impressive statistic Sunday night when it beat Radford for an 18-7 all-time record in home-opening matches.

This one came in dominant fashion as the Pirates overwhelmed Radford early and often and coasted to a 5-1 victory at Johnson Stadium.

It was East Carolina’s first home contest of the new school year in any sport, and it also was the first home match for first-year Pirate coach Jason Hamilton.

“We wanted to give the fans something exciting and I think we did,” said Hamilton, who previously was associate head coach at Mississippi State and before that head coach at Troy. “We try and be as offensive as we can and I think we have a really good attacking group, and it’s a young group. Goal scorers can be streaky, so we want to get that first goal and then keep them coming.”

Morgan Dewey sent in a corner kick during the 7th minute and Jenna Dages was in perfect position on the receiving end for a header into the corner of the net.

Twenty-two seconds later, Courtney Cash led a through ball to streaking Grace Doran and Doran finished for a 2-0 lead. It was 4-0 at halftime.

East Carolina students begin fall classes today and the soccer players will be there fresh off a dominant effort.

“I was honestly ecstatic and really happy with all of my teammates for setting a high tempo,” Cash said. “We really set the standard that we wanted to achieve and I was ecstatic and couldn’t be any happier. I love to be on this team.”

ECU’s season began Friday night with a 1-1 tie at Old Dominion.

The Pirates were aggressive from the onset of the match against the Highlanders (0-1-1) and their first corner kick opportunity resulted in their first lead of the season.

Three of the goals in the first half came from first-year Pirates, beginning with Louisiana Tech transfer Dages. The only returning player to score was Cash — one of three seniors on the roster — for a 3-0 advantage. Sophomore defender and Arkansas transfer Carsen Parker converted on a penalty kick to make it 4-0 with 8:40 until halftime.

It marked the first time the Pirates scored four goals in a half since October of 2006.

“You can’t start a game better than with two goals in the first 10 minutes,” Hamilton said. “We really wanted to talk about the urgency and the intensity. We also played 26 players (out of 29) and that gave our girls exactly what we needed because we had some players who were absolutely shot after the game on Friday.”

Radford cut it to 4-1 early in the second half. Freshman Kat Gonzalez then scored for the Pirates to create the final margin.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

ECU

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