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Pirate lacrosse opens with victory

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East Carolina's Emma Bowman, right, and Winthrop's Megan Dee go up for the ball during a game on Feb. 8, 2019. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Friday, February 8, 2019

East Carolina women’s lacrosse showed the savvy of a team that is used to winning close games in its season opener on Friday, but in reality, its cliffhanger 13-12 triumph over visiting Winthrop was just the third win in ECU history.

The second season of the sport at the school started with a bang, or a few of them, when the Pirates (1-0) saw their first half lead dissipate into a second half deficit. ECU, however, broke a 10-10 tie on Nicole Legar’s second goal of the game, then Brittany Borchers rammed home two more to make it 13-11 and offset one last tally by the Eagles (0-1) with 4 seconds left.

“It’s exciting for our players to have your first game be a win on your home field, but to just see us kind of fight for 60 minutes was exciting,” ECU coach Amanda Barnes-Moore said of the win, which marks the first-ever winning record in the team’s young history and the first win against Winthrop, which topped the Pirates by eight goals last season.

The hosts rode hat trick performances from Ally Stanton and Megan Pollozzi in addition to the two-goal outings from Borchers (three assists) and Legar. Hanna Rzempoluch notched a goal and three assists and was particularly active in helping her team build a 7-3 lead in the first half that eventually was overturned into a 9-7 deficit.

When the Pirates were clicking, however, they exuded some serious potential for scoring. At the other end, ECU defended well in front goalkeeper Christina White, who made 10 saves.

“It was great to see the versatility of our offense, from the number of scoring threats that we had, but also from the dodge and the feed looks,” said Barnes-Moore, whose team amassed eight total assists. “To see the composure and the discipline we had to tackle back defensively to make some tough, long stands to give our offense the ball back was really positive and really encouraging moving forward in our season.”

Goals by Pallozzi, Liz Blumthal and Rzempoluch staked the Pirates a 3-0 lead, and it was 7-3 after Stanton stashed her third goal with still 15:04 to play in the opening half.

After that, however, ECU fell completely silent until Pallozzi’s third of the game, which made it 9-8 Winthrop with 18:50 left in the second half. After Legar tied it at 9-9, Camryn Pennypacker’s goal briefly gave the Pirates a 10-9 edge.

“Ir really did come down to a full 60 minutes, and that was something we echoed at halftime,” Barnes-Moore said. “We had to make some adustments defensively, and anytime you’ve got long defensive sets, your offense starts to feel a little rushed on their possessions. We had to remind them to just stay connected with the game plan and with each other.” 

Mia Creighton bagged a game-high four goals for Winthrop, and the Eagles got two apiece from Lauren Asher, Ellie Marindin and Lauren Morris (three assists).

The Pirates return to action on Sunday when they host Gardner-Webb at 1 p.m.

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.

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