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W-Soccer: Valiants Tie Up Warriors, 1-1

Manhattanville breaks through after 345 scoreless minutes vs. Eastern

Box score.HTMthibodeau_72_4299.jpg

PURCHASE, N.Y. - The Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team surrendered its first goal to Manhattanville College in four matches, but the Warriors managed to extend their unbeaten streak against to four against the Valiants with a 1-1 double-overtime draw its final non-conference match of the year Wednesday night at GoValiants.com Field.

At right: Kaitlin Thibodeau

Eastern (8-7-1), which has now gone 11 consecutive seasons with at least one tie on its record, scored first on junior back Whitney Mantel's (Stamford) third goal of the season,  but Manhattanville (4-11-3) answered 11:31 later on Rebecca Breve's third goal of the year. 

In their final regular-season home match, the Valiants' managed their first goal against Eastern in 344 minutes and 58 seconds - since completing a 2-0 shutout of the visiting Warriors with 5:09 left in the match in 2009. The Warriors had shut out Manhattanville by a combined total of 12-0 the past three seasons.

In her ninth start of the season (seventh straight), freshman Chelsea Santos (Windsor Locks) made four saves for the Warriors in limiting the opponent to one or less goals eight times. Half of the eight goals allowed by Santos this year have come in one start three weeks ago.

The first half was mostly a possession battle between the two squads, as the ball remained in the midfield for a majority of the frame. Eastern had a 3-1 edge in total shots and put the only shot of the scoreless first half on target.

The match started to open up considerably at the start of the second stanza, with both teams getting some decent chances toward goal. Coming off the bench, sophomore Kaitlin Thibodeau (Tolland) nearly got Eastern  on the board in the 51st minute, but her header off a corner kick was cleared off the line by sophomore Christie Freer, who was manning the right post.

The scoreless tie remained for eight more minutes before the visitors got on the board first, when Thibodeau played a square ball to the top of the box to a waiting Mantel, who took one touch before slotting the ball into the low left corner.

But the Valiants did not go away, getting the equalizer in the 70th minute to knot the score at one. Breve and classmate Christie DeMarco played a nice give-and-go to free Breve at the left side of the box, and she managed to chip the ball over the head of Santos from a very tough angle for her third score of the year.

The Valiants had a few other chances in the remainder of regulation, including an adept give-and-go between DeMarco and junior Tori Lettieri  that resulted in a Lettieri shot creeping just over the crossbar in the 80th minute. But neither team could find a second goal, sending the game into extra time.

Twenty minutes of extra time saw very few chances for either side. For the match, Eastern held a 15-8 edge in total shots, with shots on goal even at five apiece.

Manhattanville is under the direction of ninth-year head coach Matt Paton, who spent six seasons as Eastern's head coach (1994-1999) and left as the program's all-time winningest head coach. Current Eastern 14th-year head coach Chris D'Ambrosio served two years as Paton's assistant coach before assuming the head spot in 2000.

Eastern closes out the regular season Saturday at home against Plymouth State University in a Little East Conference match. Unofficially, a 15th straight win against the Panthers gives Eastern the No. 4 seed and a first-round LEC playoff home match Tuesday.

Manhattanville College Sports Information contributed to this game account.

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