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Pirates unable to finish opener

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East Carolina fans leave Johnson Stadium during a lightning delay during East Carolina's game against George Mason on Aug. 22, 2019.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Thursday, August 22, 2019

East Carolina’s first athletic event of the academic year started and stopped and continued again and stopped again, then was canceled because of inclement weather.

ECU’s women’s soccer team was not able to finish Thursday night’s match against George Mason, even with the Pirates leading 1-0. Multiple lightning delays occurred during the first half and the game was determined canceled after 45 minutes of play at Johnson Stadium.

“It was tough to not be able to finish the game tonight as we thought our group was playing really well,” Pirate coach Jason Hamilton said in a release late Thursday night. “We had control of the game and we broke through right before halftime. .... It was great to see so many fans come out to support us and stick through the delays, we hope to see them back on Sunday (at 7 p.m. versus Richmond).”

ECU’s record remained at 0-0-0 to begin Hamilton’s second season.

The Pirates scored with about one minute remaining in the first half. Daria Draovitch played a corner kick to Grace Doran, who shot over the George Mason goalkeeper for a 1-0 edge.

Hours earlier in the night, the first lightning delay was called only eight minutes into the match. The Pirates were setting up for a corner kick with 37:45 remaining in the half when a lightning strike detected in the area and then rain led to an extensive delay.

The Pirates are offering free admission to all of their home soccer and volleyball matches this year. Pirate first-year athletics director Jon Gilbert was passing out pizza to students before the start of the match.

Jenna Dages and Erin Mikalsen pushed forward on offense for the Pirates during the opening few minutes of action.

All but one of East Carolina's starters were returning players from last year's team that finished 10-6-3 for one of the best seasons in school history. The Pirates made the American Athletic Conference tournament semifinals in 2018.

One of ECU’s players, senior Jayda Hylton-Pelaia, was honored Aug. 13 as the AAC preseason defensive player of the year.

Volleyball preseason

Junior setter Shelby Martin was named to the All-American Athletic Conference volleyball preseason team on Thursday.

Martin earned second-team all-conference honors in 2017 and also last year while racking up assists for the Pirates. Her 1,920 career assists rank ninth in program history.

Her 8.8 assists per set from last season, when the Pirates finished with a 13-16 record, ranked fourth in the AAC.

The league preseason coaches poll also was released Thursday, putting ECU ninth among the 12 teams. UCF was predicted to repeat as AAC champion.

“Congratulations to Shelby for earning a deserved spot on the preseason all-conference team,” ECU coach Julie Torbett said in a release. “I am also fine with where we were picked by the league’s head coaches. We are coming off a ninth-place showing in the standings, so that’s a fair judgement based on what we did a year ago. ... It’s now our job to make sure we exceed that prediction."

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