Playing fourth straight road match, Eastern surrenders late goal
DANBURY, Conn. - Western Connecticut State University freshman midfielder Joanna Weir scored the only goal of the afternoon with less than ten minutes left - the first goal allowed this year by Eastern Connecticut State University junior keeper Rachel Skelton (East Lyme) -- as the Colonials snapped a six-game winless streak against the Warriors in the Little East Conference women's soccer opener for both programs Saturday at the Westside Athletic Complex.
At left: Rachel Skelton
Selected third in the LEC pre-season poll and unranked in New England, Western (6-2-0, 1-0-0 LEC) won for the third time in as many home matches (all by one goal) this year and has now captured five of its last six overall. Picked for second in the conference and ranked in a tie for tenth in New England, Eastern (4-2-0, 0-1-0 LEC) played its fourth straight match decided by a 1-0 score. The Warriors are 2-2 in those games.
With just under 10 minutes remaining to play, Western broke the scoreless tie with a nicely executed corner kick from midfielder freshman Celia DeVoe, who delivered a long pass to Weir at the top of the box. Weir settled the ball quickly, and with Skelton still defending the left side of the cage, put the ball over a mass of defenders and teammates into the right side of the goal.
The goal was the first in the career of Weir but the team-leading fifth assist for DeVoe.
Skelton was tagged with her first loss against three wins, but stopped ten of 11 shots. The goal was the first she has allowed in 378 minutes over four starts, a goals-against average of 0.24.
Western opened the game with a strong scoring chance off a corner kick, but consecutive shots by junior Sarah Menta and freshman Meaghan Gustafson were both saved by Skelton. Western held an 8-2 advantage in shots during the first half, but settled for a scoreless tie at the break.
Eastern stepped up its intensity in search of the equalizer in the closing minutes when it forced Western freshman keeper Alison Rettenmeier to make three saves, including one diving save of a shot taken from five yards away from the goal.
Heading into the match, Eastern has won five and tied one (three 1-0 wins) in its last six contests with Western. The Warriors won 1-0 in two overtimes at home in last year's regular-season match. The teams played to a 1-1 two-overtime stalemate in last year's LEC semifinals at Eastern and the Colonials advanced on penalty kicks to lose the conference title game to Massachusetts Boston.
Eastern plays the fifth of six straight road matches Wednesday with a non-conference tilt at Salem State University at 7 p.m.