Oct. 21, 2011
The Owls came out and continued a trend of setting the tone. In three of the last four games the Owls had not only been the first team to score, but had done so in less than five minutes into the contest. At East Carolina true freshman Lauren Busansky put the Owls on the board with a goal on a long-range shot in the fifth minute. The goal was Busansky's third of the season, but also her third in only an 18-minute span dating back to Sunday's Southern Miss game. The freshman from Danville, Calif., had two goals in the last 13 minutes of the Southern Miss game and now another in the first five minutes at ECU.
"Lauren played really well," said Rice head coach Nicky Adams. "The first 20 minutes were fantastic. We were creating a rhythm and playing Rice soccer. It was another game where we were able to come out and execute our game plan and score really early, but we are having a hard time protecting our lead. We got a great goal and had a lot of momentum, but all of a sudden we make a couple of mistakes and ECU was back in it."
The Pirates tied the game in the 23rd minute. Amanda Malkiewicz passed to Kimmey Cummings, who converted on a shot to the lower left side for her seventh goal of the season. East Carolina moved in front 2-1 with a Malkiewicz goal in the 63rd minute. It was her fifth of the season with an assist from Chrissy Gratz. In the 77th minute the Pirates stretched the margin to 3-1 with Cummings' second goal of the game.
Even with some excellent early execution Rice is 1-2-1 in the last four games after it had scored three early goals against UTEP, Southern Miss and now East Carolina.
"We're missing (injured junior midfielder) Julia (Barrow), and we're figuring out a way to replace her as best we can," coach Adams said. "Other teams are capitalizing on our mistakes. We have to figure out a way to protect our early leads."
"When it was still 2-1, we changed our formation to create a little more offense," she added. "(The formation change) had already worked for us a lot this year, but tonight we did not work together and that led to ECU's third goal very quickly. We know what we need to do. It's a matter of us working together. That's when we've made things difficult on the other teams, when we create opportunities and make the most of those chances."
Rice out-shot ECU 8-4 in the second half and held a 3-0 advantage in corner kicks. The Owls are now 9-6-2 on the season and 4-4-1 in C-USA. East Carolina improved to 8-6-1 on the year and 3-5-0 in conference. The Blue & Gray have 13 points in the league standings and can take steps to securing a spot in the C-USA Tournament in its next two games.
The Owls have two more road games left to play to close out the regular season, including a challenging away contest on Sunday (Oct. 23). Rice next travels to Huntington, W.Va., for a C-USA clash at Marshall. The regular season wraps-up with a road game across town at the University of Houston on Oct. 28.
The game's box score appears at the above links.