Pirates fall in overtime to James Madison

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HARRISONBURG, Virginia. – A goal with just 29 seconds left in second overtime made the difference as the East Carolina football team lost to James Madison 1-0 on Sunday afternoon.

“We weren’t good enough today, outright,” said football head coach Jason hamilton. “We started the game strong and looked great, but at the end of the first half they were the better team. From that point on they seemed to outdo us.”

The loss drops the ECU to 4-6-0 this season while James Madison improves to 3-5-1 this year.

The statistics for the first half painted two different pictures. It was James Madison who held 57% of the possession in the opening 45 minutes and the Dukes outscored the Pirates 9-7. However, it was East Carolina who had the most dangerous chances, with the Pirates firing five shots on goal, three of which came from Haley McWhirter, while getting blocks on six shots from James Madison. However, despite three of those shots coming from inside James Madison’s penalty area, ECU couldn’t find the opening goal.

In the second half, the Dukes began to turn their possession into dangerous chances. James Madison took eight shots in the second stanza against just two for ECU. Maeve English helped maintain the level of play as she made three saves. Holly Schlagel and Tori Rigg each had shots on goal in the second half, but the game went scoreless, sending ECU into overtime for the second game in a row.

With just 100 seconds left in the first overtime, East Carolina had a golden chance to grab the game-winning goal. A foul by James Madison in the penalty area gave ECU a penalty. McWhirter stepped forward and fired a shot that headed for the upper right corner of James Madison’s goal, but Dukes goaltender Alexandra Blom was able to get her hands on it and keep it clear.

In second overtime, McWhirter continued the offense for the Pirates, landing two shots with Blom making a save of one. But the winning goal unfortunately came from the other side. With just 29 seconds remaining, Ebony Wiseman found Ariana Reyes in the ECU penalty area and Reyes scored on a low shot to send the Dukes home.

“We keep talking about using these games to grow and improve, but that doesn’t happen for some,” said Hamilton. “Close games are a game of thumbs and ten games, we have to be able to do the details necessary to win games.”

James Madison finished with a 21-14 lead in shots and a 7-3 advantage in corners while holding 56% of possession. Blom made nine saves for the Dukes while the Englishman finished with three saves for the Pirates.

“We didn’t learn from the last game and I think it’s very disappointing,” added Hamilton. “You have to be able to wrap things up.”

The Pirates will be grateful to return to the friendly confines of Johnson Stadium, where they are 3-1-0 this season as East Carolina’s next game will be a battle against visiting SMU on Thursday at 7pm.

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