FITCHBURG, Mass. – Having been eliminated from contention for a sixth straight Little East Conference playoff berth 24 hours earlier, the Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team found a silver lining by ending its season with a victory for the first time in 11 years.
Saturday, senior Khiara Valentine (Morristown, NJ) ended her four-year career with her team-leading fifth goal of the year – second game-winner -- in the first two minutes of the second quarter, and sophomore Brianna Nolan (Watertown) made sure that there would be no comeback with her fourth goal of the season in the third quarter in a 2-0 Little East Conference victory over Fitchburg State University at Elliot Field.
While Salem State University's 6-3 win at Bridgewater State University Friday night eliminated the Warriors from one of the eight playoff spots, Eastern (6-12, 5-7 LEC) was able to avenge last year's 3-1 loss at Fitchburg (2-16, 1-11 LEC) and win its final game of a season for the first time since blanking Worcester State University, 2-0, at home in the 2008 finale.
Saturday, in a battle of co-leaders, Worcester won its second LEC regular-season title in three years with a 3-1 road win over Western Connecticut. Eastern shares eighth place in the final LEC standings with UMass Dartmouth but the Corsairs gain the final playoff spot on the merits of their 1-0 win over visiting Eastern Oct. 1.
Eastern junior Keira Integlia (Branford) made two saves for her third shutout – first on the road this year – as Eastern outshot the Falcons, 11-5. The victory was Eastern's second in nine road contests this year.