Some anxious, waiting moments Sunday ended up being a positive experience for the East Carolina’s women’s soccer team.
ECU lost at No. 19 Memphis, 1-0, then had to wait on the Houston-UCF result to determine if the Pirates would finish in fourth place or fifth in the American Athletic Conference standings. A 3-1 Houston victory sealed fourth place for the Pirates (3-5-2, 3-3-2), who made the four-team AAC tournament and will face top-seed South Florida in the semifinals Thursday at 7 p.m. in Tampa, Fla.
ECU’s only other top-five finish in the American was in 2018 when it tied for fourth.
“This is a unique year, as it has been with everything, but I also look at it like it’s a great opportunity,” ECU coach Jason Hamilton said during an interview with The Daily Reflector last week. “We have kind of put it in front of our group that if there is a year to make it, this is the year because you’re on a level playing ground as far as the previous years where the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds received byes.”
USF (7-0-2) beat ECU 1-0 on March 7, scoring the lone goal at Johnson Stadium in the 84th minute.
The Pirates went 2-2-1 in their final five regular-season matches. Finishing in fourth place was a major improvement from when they were ninth among 10 teams in 2019.
“The seniors can walk away saying that they were a part of both of the teams that had those two best finishes and should be proud of that,” Hamilton said in a release Sunday.
Golfer of the week
East Carolina junior Julie Boysen Hillestad was named the American Athletic Conference women’s golfer of the week, the league announced Friday.
Hillestad posted a team-best score of 218 (2 over) to tie for fifth place at the ECU Easter Invitational, which the Pirates won by two strokes over College of Charleston. She opened the event with a 77 (5 over) before carding under-par rounds of 70 and 71 for her second-career top-five performance.
Davis hammer record
Ryan Davis continued his stellar outdoor campaign Saturday at the Gamecock Invitational, breaking his own school record in the hammer throw to highlight East Carolina’s participation in the meet at the Cregger Track.
He posted a mark of 69.51 meters to win the hammer event title. Davis, who ranks second in the American Athletic Conference in the discus, also won that event with a total of 54.25 meters.
Softball goes 1-3
East Carolina’s softball team went 1-3 in a series at Wichita State, losing the finale 10-2 in five innings, dropping to 1-7 in the AAC.
The Pirates’ lone win was Saturday with an 8-4 victory. Chandley Garner and Taylor Woodring each hit home runs for ECU (10-21).
Men’s golf tourney
The East Carolina men’s golf team carded a three-round score of 11-over-par 875 (289-298-288) to finish 12th at the Stitch Intercollegiate held at MacGregor Downs. A.J. Beechler shot 5-under 211 (69-74-68) to finish tied for 17th, leading the Pirates for the second consecutive tournament.
One-run loss costs PCC
An 11-10 baseball game Sunday went to Bryant & Stratton College for a 2-1 series victory over Pitt Community College. A comeback attempt by PCC (11-11, 9-6 Region X), which plated two runs in the top of the eighth inning and one more in the ninth, fell short in the one-run defeat.
Pitt won Game 1 of the series with a 10-2 rout. Warren Bailey hit a home run to highlight his 3-for-3 outing.
In softball, PCC swept a Friday doubleheader against Camp Community College, 9-1 and 11-0. Keagan Wilkerson pitched all five innings of the shutout, recording five strikeouts, and she also was 2-for-3 with a HR at the plate.
The Bulldogs (21-3) remained unbeaten in Region X, improving to 10-0.