Eastern battles Bridgewater into final minutes in key LEC loss
BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Senior forward Carissa Vizakis notched the game's only goal with 1:58 left in play to lift the Bridgewater State University field hockey team to a 1-0 Little East Conference victory over Eastern Connecticut State University Saturday night at Swenson Field.
Bridgewater (14-2, 9-1 LEC) extended its winning streak to a program-best 11 games. The Bears are tied for second place in the conference with UMass Dartmouth, which edged Plymouth State, 4-3, Saturday.
Eastern's (8-9, 4-6 LEC) sixth straight loss at the hands of Bridgewater muddies the conference post-season picture. Eastern entered play in a three-way tie for fifth place in the conference, but falls to seventh after both Salem State and the University of Southern Maine won their matches Saturday. The top eight teams in the 12-team conference qualify for the playoffs, which get underway with first-round games Nov. 5.
The Warriors enter the final weekend of the regular season one game ahead of Westfield State University and Worcester State University as the three times vie for the final two playoff spots. Westfield hosts Western Connecticut this Friday night, while Eastern visits Worcester State Saturday at 2 p.m.
Unofficially, an Eastern win or Westfield loss guarantees Eastern a playoff spot, but a Westfield victory Friday night and an Eastern loss Saturday would create a three-way tie for the final two spots. Losses to both Westfield and Worcester would unofficially eliminate Eastern from playoff contention.
Bridgewater scored the only goal Saturday night off a penalty corner. With the clock ticking down to two minutes, junior midfielder Jaclyn Holahan sent in a shot in from the top of the circle. The ball was deflected into the air by senior defender Olivia Galvin and Vizakis batted the ball out of the air and into the back of the net.
For Vizakis, the goal marked her team leading 15th the season and 29th of her career.
Senior Kacie Sturgeon recorded three saves to post her conference leading ninth shut out of the season and 14th of her career. Sturgeon entered the game ranked second in Division III in save percentage and eighth in goals against average.
Eastern freshman goaltender Samantha Scavo (Redding) turned aside two shots as the Warriors dropped their fifth conference match in the last six tries.