April 24, 2013

With LEC Loss, Warriors Face First-Round Game on Road

MANSFIELD, Conn. – Senior Emily Brooks scored three goals when Western Connecticut State University scored six consecutive goals over a 12 minute span in the first half and the Colonials went on to their first women's lacrosse win ever  over Eastern Connecticut State University, 17-8, Wednesday in a Little East Conference match at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.

Eastern (4-11, 2-4 Little East) managed as many as two unanswered goals only once in the match in concluding the regular season with seven losses in its final eight matches.  The Warriors are currently in fifth place in the seven-team conference and is the only team to have finished its conference slate. With the victory, Western (7-8, 3-2 Little East) moves into a two-way tie for third place in the conference with 2012 LEC playoff champion Keene State College, which was idle Wednesday.

Unofficially, Western is guaranteed a first-round playoff home match Tuesday while Eastern, unofficially, will be the No. 5 seed and will visit the No. 4 seed, which will be the winner of Saturday's noon matchup between host Western and visiting Keene.

Plymouth won the battle of LEC unbeatens and gained the No. 1 playoff seed Wednesday with a 15-5 victory over visiting University of Southern Maine Wednesday.  The Panthers are guaranteed a share of the LEC regular-season title and can finish unbeaten in the conference for the second straight year with a win at Rhode Island College Saturday or a Southern Maine loss at UMass Dartmouth. Seeded fifth in last year's LEC playoffs, Western upset Plymouth in the semifinals before losing to Keene State in the final.

Wednesday, Brooks and sophomore Kelsey Heaton combined for 12 of Western's goal total on just 14 shots. The Colonials connected on ten of 12 free-position attempts in the game, with Brooks 4-for-5 and Heaton 2-for-2.

Down by five goals after Brooks ignited the run of six straight in the first half, Eastern answered with three in a row, but that surge over two minutes was the only sustained one for Eastern. Western answered with the final five markers of the first half, then got a goal from Heaton 34 seconds into the second half to move out to an 11-4 lead.

Western junior goalie Karli Portnoy made eight of her 11 saves in the first half, but was not tested in the second, needing only three to preserve the lead.

Senior Nicole Perrone (Brookfield), the second-leading goal-scorer in the conference , recorded her 200th career goal by converting a free-position opportunity with 7:30 left in the first half. Perrone led Western with five draw controls, while Portnoy won five ground balls and freshman Emma Theiler four.

Eastern senior Daniela Marchitto (Orange) scored both of her goals in the final four minutes, recording goal No. 50 with 25 seconds left. Junior Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) won five draws and  junior Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) four for Eastern, with senior Rachel Meotti (Glastonbury) leading all players with seven ground balls and Wolk adding five. Senior Christina Rully (Orange) collected four caused turnovers, senior Samantha Barone (Plainedge, NY) three for Eastern.