Eastern Women's Lacrosse Rolls past RIC in Little East Opener, 17-6

PROVIDENCE,  R.I.-  What a difference a year makes.

One year after struggling  mightily in a one-goal victory over Rhode Island College in the first round of the 2012 Little East Conference women's lacrosse playoffs, Eastern Connecticut State University opened its 2013 conference season with a 17-6 victory over the Anchorwomen Saturday.

The win is the first away from home this year for Eastern (3-4, 1-0 Little East) and snaps a two-game losing skid. The shot and goal totals and shot differential (+25) represent a season-high for the Warriors, who broke from a two-goal lead early in the second half by outscoring Rhode Island (2-3, 0-1 Little East) 11-2 the rest of the way.

The Warriors never trailed after scoring the first four goals, but strikes by Danielle Landon in the final seconds of the first half and Harmony Tillison's free-point goal in the opening minute of the second half pulled the Anchorwomen to within a pair.

A that point, a remarkable eight different players netted one goa apiece, with junior attack Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) and senior midfielder Christina Rully (Orange) contributing a goal and an assist. Three of the goals came on free-position shots, where Eastern converted six of 14 in the match.

In addition to outshooting the hosts 45-20, Eastern won 18 (of 25) draws, eight by Conn.

The loss was the  63rd in 67 regular-season conference matches for Rhode Island, which is 0-14 all-time against the Warriors.

Conn finished with three goals and two assists, and senior midfielder Daniela Marchitto (Orange) four goals. Junior attack Christine Lillis (Waterford), junior midfielder Taylor Shannon (Waterford) and senior midfielder Taylor Buchanan (Ellington) chipped in with two goals apiece.

Junior Haley Heslin (Hartford) and freshman Hannah Keiser (Danbury) each made four saves in goal for Eastern. In her third appearance, Keiser played 21 minutes and gave up only two goals.

Eastern visits Wellesley College Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.