WILLIMANTIC, Conn. – Eastern Connecticut State University senior midfielder Linnea Reich (Middletown) has been named to the All-Little East Conference women’s soccer team for the third time and has been joined by freshmen defenders Emily Belval (Southbury) and Emily Barata (New Fairfield), released today.
The 12-person first team, 12-person second team and four major award-winners were voted upon by the conference’s nine head coaches.
Previously, Reich was named to the first team as a junior and to the second team as a sophomore. Belval was one of only two freshmen – the only defender -- named to the first team, while Barata was a second-team choice. It marks the first time in program history that two Eastern freshmen defenders were voted to the all-conference team in the same year.
Reich was the only player to start every match for the Warriors, who finished 7-12-0 overall, 5-3-0 in the conference and in a tie for third place in the final standings. She was second on the team with an average of 84.5 minutes per match. Her goal came on a penalty kick and gave the Warriors a 1-0 home win over Plymouth State University in the first round of the LEC tournament Nov. 5.
Eastern’s first freshman defender to be selected to the first team in five years, Belval started 18 of the 19 matches in which she appeared and topped the team by averaging 87.7 minutes per match. All of her points came in LEC regular-season play, including an assist which set up an early goal in a 2-1 home win over Plymouth State on the final day of the regular season which gave Eastern the No. 4 seed and a first-round home game in the playoffs.
Belval, who took the team’s corner kicks and defensive free kicks, played every minute in the team’s final nine matches.
Barata also appeared in every match, starting 16 and averaging 72.9 minutes. She played every minute of the team’s final six matches.
Belval and Barata become only the fourth and fifth freshmen defenders from Eastern to be voted to the All-LEC team in the 30-year history of the awards.
Despite starting three freshmen on defense in Belval, Barata and redshirt Destiny Perez (Vernon), Eastern was third in LEC matches with a team 1.19 goals-against average, allowing only ten goals, five times limiting its conference foes to one or no goals. Overall, the Warriors were fifth in the conference in overall GAA (1.90), with 14 of the 37 goals given up coming in opening losses to nationally-ranked College of New Jersey and regionally-ranked Swarthmore College.