PHILADELPHIA - TheUniversity of Pennsylvania remained unbeaten by defeating East Carolina,1-0, in a physical, low-scoring game Sunday afternoon at ECU's Bunting Field in Greenville, N.C.
ECU created numerous scoring opportunities, but it was the Quakers' Jessica Fuccellowho againhad the winning touch.Just two days afterher first collegiate goal provedtobe the winner against UNC-Greensboro, the freshman again provided the difference with less than 10 minutes to play.
The scoreless but spirited first half featured a combined 10 fouls as both teams tried to force its style of play. The Lady Pirates outshot Penn 7-0 in the half, but could not put the ball past Quaker goalkeeper Cailly Carroll. ECU’s best scoring chance occurred in the 41st minute when Sarah Kirkley blistered a shot off the crossbar.
"I felt like we actually held the play quite a bit in the first half," said Penn head coach Darren Ambrose. "We knocked the ball around probably as well as we have all season, and we forced East Carolina to adjust to us. However, they were very organized in the back, and as a result we struggled to connect in the final third."
The second half featured more physical play, as both squads pushed for the go-ahead goal. The Lady Pirates (4-4-0) thought they had a goal in the 65th minute when Amy Szilard took a pass from Kirkley and beat the goalkeeper but was denied by the right post. Carroll was able to cover the ball in the ensuing scramble around the net.
The game seemed headed to overtime but Penn (4-0-1) made sure the match would end in regulation. At 81:58 Fuccello was the beneficiary of a free ball in the box. Ellen Gregory slotted a nice through-ball past ECU keeper Amber Campbell, allowing Fuccello to slot the ball into the far right corner of the net. Penn was able to keep ECU at bay the rest of the way after that.
"Jessica's goal was fantastic," said Ambrose. "It was a nice feed from Ellen, but Jess had to do some work to get the ball to the goal and she showed great composure as she broke in. She is playing a lot more now, and you can see her getting more comfortable out there."
Penn is next in action Wednesday, taking on Temple in a city matchup. Kickoff is slated for 4 p.m.