Eastern women advance in LEC tourney with 15-7 quarterfinal win over Western
DANBURY, CT (April 30) – The Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team dominated the first 20 minutes of play on its way to a 15-7 victory over in-state and Little East Conference rival Western Connecticut State in the quarterfinals of this year's LEC tournament Tuesday evening at the Westside Athletic Complex.
Scoring for the Colonials were seniors Nicole Perrone (Brookfield, CT) and Emily Brooks (Kingston, NY) with two goals each. Sophomore Kelsey Heaton (New Milford, CT), freshman Emma Theiler (Waterford, CT), and senior Lindsay Gorman (Killingworth, CT) each scored once for Western.
Leading the Eastern offense was senior Daniela Marchitto (Orange, CT) and junior Erin Conn (Moriches, NY) who each scored four goals. Junior Ashley Wolk (Barrington, RI) scored three goals and junior Christine Lillis (Waterford, CT) added two goals.
After seven minutes of scoreless play to start the first half, Eastern senior Marchitto and junior Taylor Buchanan (Ellington, CT) scored back to back goals 30 seconds apart to give the Warriors an early 2-0 lead. Two minutes later, Conn scored the third straight unassisted goal for Eastern to make the lead 3-0. At the 17:40 mark, Wolk gave Eastern a 4-0 lead when she collected a ground ball in front of the Western goal and slipped a shot past the Western keeper.
Eastern continued to pressure the Western defense and scored the game's fifth goal just before the midway point of the half. Conn scored her third goal of the game with just over 10 minutes remaining in the half to keep the momentum favoring Eastern and giving the Warriors a 6-0 lead.
Brooks finally ended the Eastern run with a free position goal at the 8:37 mark, and 20 seconds later, Gorman narrowed the margin to 6-2 with another goal for the Colonials. Eastern answered two minutes later when Wolk scored her second goal of the game, converting a free-position opportunity. At intermission, Eastern held a 7-2 lead.
Marchitto wasted little time getting the Eastern offense started in the second half with an unassisted goal with less than 30 seconds played, and Conn scored her fifth goal of the game to put the Warriors up 9-2 five minutes later at the 24:55 mark. Ten seconds later, Heaton cut the Western deficit to 9-3, junior Alexa Foldy (Brookfield, CT) scored less than one minute later for a 10-3 Eastern lead.
At the 22:12 mark, Perrone kept the Western hopes alive with an unassisted goal, and then narrowed the gap to 10-5 with her second goal one minute later. Twenty seconds later, Brooks scored her second goal of the game, cutting the lead to 10-6. Wolk converted a free-position opportunity for Eastern at the 18:25 mark for her third goal of the game and an 11-6 lead for the Warriors.
Lillis extended the Eastern lead to 12-6, but Theiler kept Western within striking distance with an unassisted goal at 13:54. Lillis scored her second goal of the game to push the Eastern advantage back to six goals and a 13-7 lead, and when Marchitto scored her third goal of the game, the Eastern lead was 14-7. Marchitto scored her fourth unassisted goal of the game two minutes later to give the Warriors even more breathing room and a 15-7 lead.
For the game, Eastern held a 25-15 advantage in shots, and a 20-18 edge in ground galls. Western keeper Karli Portnoy (Sea Cliff, NY) recorded 8 saves in a losing effort, while junior Hailey Heslin (Hartford, CT) made 3 saves in collecting the win for Eastern. Western concludes its season with an overall record of 7-10.
With the win, Eastern, now 5-11 on the season, advances to the semifinals of this year's LEC tournament semifinals and will travel to play #1 seeded Plymouth State on Friday at 3:30pm. The Warriors have previously won three LEC tournament championships and six times have finished as the tournament's runner-up.