Marquist Parker Sports Editor
Junior midfielder Stephanie Sanchez (Manchester) scored her third goal of the season on assists from senior midfielder Alissa Beedle (Bethany) and senior defender Tara Shayler (Avon) nine minutes into the second half. Keepers Kayla Labrecque (Westhampton, MA) and Erin Collins (Millis, MA) contributed seven saves as the Eastern Connecticut State University women’s soccer team edged Johnson & Wales University, 1-0, in a non-conference match at the Mansfield outdoor Complex.
Eastern (5-2-0) recorded its fourth straight shutout home win of the year and tenth victory in ten series matches against Johnson & Wales (3-5), which was coming off last year’s 16-4-1 season.
The Wildcats outshot the Warriors 9-4 in the first half and had the better of play before Sanchez— who started the second half after coming off the bench in the first— recorded the first career game-winner in the 54th minute when Shayler sent a long crossing pass from 35 yards out in front of the Eastern bench to the far-left post, where Sanchez got a foot on the ball. Wildcat junior keeper, Colleen Lynch, fell on the ball, but lost possession, and Sanchez slid it under the prone keeper.
Freshman midfielder, Haley Montesanto (East Haven), another starter in the second half after entering the game midway through the first, gained control on the scoring drive by winning the ball at midfield. She then sent a long ball down the right sideline which eventually got to Sanchez.
Sanchez’ go-ahead goal came on Eastern’s first shot of the second half and was one of only two in the period for the Warriors, who were outshot, 15-6. The Wildcats forced three early Eastern offsides and got several dangerous shots from two freshman forwards. Emily Zebilsky’s was in the first 15 minutes, while Jordan Restivo’s was at four minutes left in the first half. Restivo took a pass from senior forward Deja Hursey and maneuvered around Labrecque, who went down, but her shot from the from the right side sailed wide of the left post.
Collins made four saves in playing the second half to record her third win without a loss— all to the relief of Labrecque. Eastern has outscored its opponent 11-0 in the second half this year after managing only one first-half goal all year.
Eastern hosts Massachusetts Dartmouth in a Little East Conference match.