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For copies of the 2013 Eastern women's soccer alumni day photo, contact Bob Molta at email@example.com.
Charity to benefit Be The Match is combined with Team IMPACT
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University men's soccer team and alumni will sponsor a Goal-a-Thon to benefit the Be The Match National Marrow Donor Program Saturday, April 20 at 9 a.m. at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
All proceeds from the Goal-a-Thon will benefit the Be The Match program in the name of Eastern soccer senior Jon DeCasanova, who was diagnosed with aplastic anemia this past fall and has spent most of the past eight months in the hospital.
The Goal-a-Thon involves Eastern players and alumni divided into teams of 4-6 and will play timed, small-sided games until a combined total of 100 goals are scored.The minimum sponsorship is 5 cents per goal.
Prior to the Goal-a-Thon, 15-year-old Tyler Belfleur of Canterbury will be outfitted in a team uniform and will join team members during official introductions as part of the Team IMPACT! Program. In June of 2012, Tyler was involved in an ATV accident and sustained brain injury. Since then, he has advanced from a wheelchair to a walk and now needs only a crutch. Prior to the injury, Tyler was active in soccer and basketball, among other sports.
Team IMPACT is a non-profit organization chartered to improve the quality of life for children facing life-threatening illnesses. The goal of the organization is to harness the power of teamwork by matching those courageous kids with college athletic teams. Team IMPACT children are "drafted" onto local college athletic teams and to the greatest extent possible, become "official" members of the team for the duration of their treatment, and beyond.
Tyler will be "drafted" by the Eastern soccer team prior to the Goal-a-Thon.
To support the Goal-a-Thon through a financial contribution, contact Eastern head men's soccer coach Greg DeVito at 860-465-4334 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff
The National Athletic Trainers' Association (NATA) has designated the month of March as National Athletic Training Month.
The theme of the second annual NATA month is Every Body Needs an Athletic Trainer. From the NATA toolkit, the goal is "to continue to reach those individuals and organizations that can help make a difference for athletic trainers when it comes to legislation, employment and public health."
At right: Athletic trainer Julie Alexander works recently with baseball catcher Ben Richards, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. (Daniela Marchitto photo)
Promoting the awareness of athletic training to people who do not know what athletic trainers do is a key goal that the NATA looks to achieve. Educating people of the importance of athletic trainers and establishing relationships between student-athletes and athletic trainers are things to consider in promoting the awareness.
Eastern Connecticut State University has athletic trainers who work hard without needing any recognition or high praise. The athletic trainers at Eastern are people who are helpful to the student-athletes and make sure each are cleared to play based on the guidelines on handling a specific injury.
Below (from left): Eastern athletic trainers Julie Alexander, Stevie Clines, Tom Holton, Jarrett Sorge.
Athletic trainer Julie Alexander, who graduated from Eastern with a B.S. in Psychology and went on to earn a M.S. in Athletic Training at Old Dominion University, expressed her feelings on the importance of this month and beyond.
"I think that we will carry out our day-to-day functions the same way we always have," said Alexander. "Any athlete that comes in with an illness or an injury that's athletically-related, we care for the same way regardless of whether it's March, April, May, August or September. I think this month of March is more to promote the field of athletic training to people who don't understand what it is that we do. A lot of people think athletic trainer, they think personal trainer, a strength coach, and while we do have some function in teaching strength and conditioning and techniques, we're also on the field emergency care, injury evaluation, treatment rehabilitation, returning to play concussion management, the list goes on and on."
Alexander, who was hired at her alma mater this past summer after many years at Division I Sacred Heart University, has been proud of helping out the people she has met in her field.
"After 20 plus years, I can tell you that anytime we have an injured athlete, the best day is the day that they return to their field of play," said Alexander. "That is probably the most exciting thing about what we do, especially if it's an athlete that's been injured, had surgical interventions, has gone through post surgical rehabilitation in our room; returning to play is those days I look forward to. I enjoy every day but those are the days that are special."
As there are upsides, there are downsides for being an athletic trainer. Athletic trainer Tom Holton, who earned a B.S. in Physical Education from Eastern and an M.S.S. in Sports Medicine from the U.S. Sports Academy, noted that he loves his job but dislikes when he lets the student-athlete know the bad news.
"I love doing my job it's just part of the job you hate saying 'you can't play'," said Holton. "I really wish I could come into work every day and not have to do that.. The reality of the fact is that there's people we have to hold out and tell them 'you're season's over, you got to have surgery' and deal with the emotions of that athlete and how they're going to handle 'my career is over'."
Holton, a staff member since 1999, noted how being able to get the student-athlete to get back in his or her field of play and watching him or her succeed is one of his proudest moments as an athletic trainer.
Eastern director of athletics Dr. Jeff Konin, another Eastern alum, has been an athletic trainer and a physical therapist. Konin mentioned how the importance of athletic trainers is not just for the collegiate level, but for all levels of competition.
"The purpose is to bring awareness to the general public, to bring awareness to the public of the importance of athletic trainers and the injury prevention care of the numerous student-athletes that participate in sports in all levels," said Konin. "At the high school level, less than 50 percent of high schools have an athletic trainer, and when every high school has programs but less than half of them have proper ways to care for the kids, that's why an awareness month is there to inform people of what they should be doing to provide appropriate programs. You wouldn't put them out there if you didn't have the fields, you wouldn't put them out there if you didn't have the coaches and you really shouldn't put them out there if you don't have the appropriate medical care for them."
As the spring season is starting to get into full-swing, so are the athletic trainers at Eastern working hard to make sure every student-athlete is evaluated and cleared to play. The month of March will be busy at Eastern with lacrosse, baseball, softball, and track & field. The Eastern athletic trainers will be the unsung heroes in helping our student-athletes, not only during national NATA month, but every month of the academic year.
"I have the best job in the world," said Alexander. "In this job, you don't sit behind a desk or do the same thing every day . Every day is different , and you get to work with amazing people who you want to see get better when they get injured.. What's better than that?"
Girls and Women in Sports Day and Title IX to be recognized this week
By Jonathan Mizger/Sports Information Staff
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Female athletics will take center stage this week with the celebration of two major milestones in the advancement of athletic opportunities for women.
Eastern Connecticut State University will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX as well as the 27th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day in a two-day celebration this week.
On Tuesday, Feb. 5, women's basketball will host Western Connecticut State University in a Little East Conference game at 5:30 p.m. at Francis E. Geissler Gymnasium. In recognition of National Girls' and Women in Sports Day, youth, elementary and middle school girls' basketball are invited to attend the game wearing their team uniform and receive free admission.
The next day, Wednesday, Feb. 6, the 40th anniversary of Title IX legislation is officially celebrated nationwide. The legislation which became law on June 23, 1972 changed the landscape of collegiate athletics and reads: "No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance."
At 11 a.m. at the Student Center Wednesday, Eastern will showcase the film Hero for Daisy, which is a documentary about two-time Olympian Chris Ernst and her 1976 rowing team at Yale University, which protested the lack of proper facilities for women.
At 3 p.m. in the Paul E. Johnson Room in the J. Eugene Smith Library Wednesday, Eastern is hosting a Title IX forum as part of the University Hour program.
To get more into Title IX, I was given the chance to read a study on how Title IX has made an impact in our nation. From The Status of Women in Intercollegiate Athletics as Title IX Turns 40 by Amy Wilson (Instructor, Education Department of Illinois College and PhD Candidate, Heath and Sports Studies at University of Iowa) stated: "Title IX consists of 37 words that mandated change in American education by making discrimination based on sex illegal thereby expanding access and opportunities for the underrepresented sex, which historically has been women."
Wilson described how Title IX should be supported and considered for continued process. Wilson stated: "The law's 40th anniversary offers us an appropriate occasion to reflect on our own philosophies of intercollegiate sport. If we value sport for young people and champion its many benefits, then we will strive for comparable participation opportunities and treatment for all student-athletes. Title IX's promise is that it serves as a powerful tool and a potent reminder that it takes much effort and diligence to bring about a model of intercollegiate athletics that is equitable and fair to all."
The guest panelists at Eastern's Title IX Forum are: Christina Amato, Dr. Jennifer Bruening, Tom Farrey, Theresa Grentz, and Carolyn Vanacore.
Amato played basketball at Eastern from 2005-2009, where she served as a senior captain, was a recipient of the prestigious Holly Zimmerman Memorial Award, and graduated with a degree in Sport and Leisure Management. The Marlboro, MA native is currently the Director of Recreation and Chair of Physical Education at Colgate University.
At right: Christina Amato
Bruening is the Director of the Laboratory for Sport Management at the University of Connecticut and has been part of the University's Sport Management Program since January 2002. Bruening spent eight years as an athletic administrator and volleyball coach at Kenyon College, as well as two years as an athletic director.
Farrey is a reporter and journalist for television, print, and online media for ESPN and has won two sports journalism Emmy Awards for Outside the Lines. Farrey, a graduate of the University of Florida, has been with ESPN since 1996 when he was the deputy editor of ESPN.com. Farrey is the author of Game On: The All-American Race to Make Champions of Our Children, recognized among experts and universities like Oregon State and University of Florida as leading journalistic work on modern youth sports.
Grentz was a former women's collegiate basketball player and coach and served as head coach for the United States at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. She was a member of the Immaculata College Mighty Macs and led the team to win three straight AIAW national championships from 1972 to 1974. Grentz coached for 32 years at Saint Joseph's University, Rutgers University, and the University of Illinois and is a member of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.
Vanacore is a Professor Emeritus at Southern Connecticut State University, where she was an Assistant Professor of Women's Physical Education.
The event will be sponsored by the President's Office, the Office of Equality and Diversity, the Eastern Athletic Department, the Office of Institutional Advancement, the Health and Physical Education Department and the Women's Center, a Division of Student Affairs.
Spreading the growth of women's athletics is one of the key points that Eastern women's head basketball coach Denise Bierly stated. "Get the word out about women's athletics and where we've come from and where we are today in 2013 and where we still need to go," said Bierly. "The panel will do a good job of discussing where we've been, where we've come from, how far it's come and then where we still need to go."
Bierly had the good fortune playing and coaching with the help of Title IX, but there were obstacles that Bierly faced prior to the iplementation of Tite IX.
"I remember in fifth grade we didn't have any youth girls basketball where I grew up and if I wanted to play I had to play with the boys. I remember even playing on a boys baseball team because there was no girls softball," said Bierly. "For me, I kind of came when [Title IX] was getting started and I've been fortunate to have a lot of the rewards from it, especially in my coaching career.
"I've been at Eastern for 19 years and have been well-supported by our administration. I look at the people that came before me and all the fights they had just to get a uniform or just to get balls. It's a reminder to me of where the people that came before me that how much I try to think about how the battles they fought and to help all of us women and girls in sports have the opportunities to play."
Dr. Charlie Chatterton, Eastern's NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative and an Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Physical Education, had insight on how Title IX affected his family.
"I think back to my own family and my experiences and I have five sisters," said Chatterton. "My older sister she was always playing sports and I use to often see how some of the opportunities I had and facilities that I had were often not on the same par with what she had. When she was going up and she was in high school in the late 70s early 80s and even in middle school, junior high and late elementary, I remember going to the different games and contests and didn't think twice about it. I was just going to watch her game. Thinking about it now in retrospect, we had the boys' gym and there was the smaller girls' gym and we typically played our games at night in high school and my sister's were usually in the afternoon. What's neat [from Title IX] is now I see the many of the opportunities are available for my children and it's terrific. There's always room to improve but I see quite the contrast."
Both Bierly and Chatterton agree on educating the students at Eastern, the community around Eastern, and nationally about the importance and significance of Title IX.
"It's a very important piece of legislation and it's something that I think all of us, myself included, need to continue to learn about it, be more educated about it, and understand all that's part of it," said Chatterton.
We look forward to hearing from pioneers of the Title IX movement as the panel will talk about the past, present, and future of Title IX.
Institution is only one in New England to have both programs honored
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Eastern Connecticut State University is one of only four institutions nationwide - the only one from New England -- to have both its men's and women's soccer programs qualify for a 2012 National Soccer Coaches' Association of America (NSCAA) Ethics Award.
The Eastern men's and women's soccer team both qualified for a Bronze Team Ethics Award for accumulating ten or less yellow and no red cards over the course of the 2012 season. The Eastern men were issued eight yellow cards in 20 matches during a 17-2-1 season and the women's team was given three yellow cards in 18 matches during a 9-6-3 campaign.
"I am so proud of our student athletes from both the men's and women's soccer teams," noted Eastern Director of Athletics Dr. Jeff Konin. "This past fall, not only did they perform successfully on the field and exemplary in the classroom, but the recognition of being just one of four universities in the nation to have both men's and women's teams receive the award demonstrates the high standards portrayed every day at Eastern. Additionally, our coaches are to be commended for instilling these values in our student athletes."
In addition to Eastern, the only other soccer programs to feature both their men's and women's programs with an Ethics Award were Division III institutions Grinnell College, Grove City College, and Stevens Institute of Technology.
Eastern was among only six men's programs in the country to be recognized with an Ethics Award. Five of those programs earned spots in the Bronze category and one in the Silver category.
Men's and women's four-year and two-year collegiate teams holding membership in the NSCAA were eligible for the award, presented for the first time. Eight institutions received a Gold Award for being issued no yellow cards during the season; 48 programs earned a Silver Award for receiving five or less yellow cards, and 18 were presented a Bronze Award for receiving ten or fewer yellow cards. Programs which received even one red card were not eligible for the award.
"As the athletic director, this accomplishment combined with the success these programs have had on the field and in the classroom tells me that we are meeting the mission of the University and the true purpose of Division 3 athletics," added Konin. "If I were a parent of one of these student-athletes, I would feel very comfortable that my son or daughter made the right choice coming to Eastern!"
This past fall, five members of the men's team and five members of the women's team achieved Little East Conference All-Academic status, with seniors Jordan Munsell (Waterford) and Cory Tobler (Portland) of the men's program earning additional honors when they were named to the NSCAA College Division Men's Scholar All-East Region Team.
The Eastern women are under the direction of 13-year head coach Chris D'Ambrosio, the men under the direction of six-year head coach Greg DeVito.
Five are all-region; men cited with 2011/12 Team Academic Award
WILLIMANTIC, Conn. - The Eastern Connecticut State University soccer teams have been recognized by the National Soccer Coaches' Association of American (NSCAA) for their successes on the playing field and in the classroom.
The Eastern men's soccer team was awarded an NSCAA Team Academic Award as one of 226 member Division I, II and III member institutions to record an overall grade-point average of at least 3.00 for the 2011/12 academic year. Eastern's GPA was 3.03.
In addition, three members of the Eastern men's program and two women's team members were recognized with NSCAA All-New England honors for 2012.
For the men, senior forward Matt Furman (Montville) was voted to the first team and senior defender Bradley Fletcher (Middletown) and senior keeper Jordan Munsell (Waterford) were second-team selections. As a sophomore in 2010, Furman was named to the second team.
For the women, senior forward Daniela Marchitto (Orange) repeated as a fourth-team selection and defender Gia Karahalios (South Windsor) became only the third freshman - first since 1998 - to gain all-region accolades when she joined Marchitto on the fourth team.
A three-time first-team All-Little East Conference selection and 2012 LEC Offensive Player-of-the-Year, Furman helped the Warriors to a record 17-1-2 record and No. 4 regional ranking by leading the Warriors with 13 goals and 31 points.
A three-time LEC all-conference pick and 2012 conference Defensive Player-of-the-Year, Fletcher started all 20 matches and averaged 92 minutes per match.
In his first season as a starter, Munsell gained all 20 of the team's decision and played all but 43 minutes in net. He recorded eight full shutouts and started all nine, registering a 0.69 goals-against average and .829 goals-against average.
In addition to NSCAA regional honors, Furman was voted to the ECAC All-New England team as one of only 14 selections - the only one from the Little East Conference.
Marchitto led the 9-6-3 Warriors in goals (10) and points (24). She is a four-time all-conference selection, 2011 LEC Offensive Player-of-the-Year and 2009 LEC Rookie-of-the-Year.
Karahalios was this year's LEC Rookie-of-the-Year and a first-team all-conference selection when she was one of only three players on the team to start all 18 matches. She averaged 83.0 minutes per match and helped the Warriors to six shutouts and a 1.06 goals-against average. Prior to this year, the only all-region freshman picks from Eastern were second-teamer Julia Neilson in 1998 and second-teamer Anna Werfel in 1988.
A total of 23 Eastern Connecticut State University intercollegiate athletes were named to the Little East Conference's 2012 All-Academic Team for the fall season. That total gives Eastern 401 such honorees in the history of the award, which began in the fall of 2007. Since the fall of 2009, student-athletes must have reached sophomore academic and athletic status and have accumulated an overall grade-point average of 3.30 to earn a spot on the team. Listed below are this year's recipients. In parentheses is the total number of times they have achieved All-Academic status, including this fall.
Danielle Bourne (5), Sr., Women's Volleyball (Branford)
Lee Cattanach (1), So., Men's Cross Country (New London)
Jordan Clark (2), Jr., Men's Soccer (Manchester)
Christine DeFilippo (2), Women's Soccer (Ronkonkoma, NY)
Nicholas Demo (1), Men's Soccer (Brookfield)
Katie France (4), Women's Cross Country (Portland)
Nicki Gasch (1), Jr., Women's Volleyball (New Fairfield)
Kelly Gawron (2), Jr., Field Hockey (Ramsey, NJ)
Kaitlyn Kennedy (2), Jr., Women's Soccer (Burlington)
Kelly Labanara (1), So., Women's Cross Country (Chaplin)
Mackenzie MacLeod (3), Sr., Women's Soccer (Northfield)
Daniella Marchitto (5), Sr., Women's Soccer (Orange)
Erynn Miller (2), Jr., Women's Volleyball (Stratford)
Brittany Miskell (2), Sr., Women's Cross Country (Woodstock)
Jordan Munsell (5), Sr., Men's Soccer (Waterford)
Rochelle Normandin (3), Sr., Field Hockey (South Windsor)
Alexa Palasky (4), Jr., Women's Cross Country (Griswold)
Mike Radlbeck (2), Jr., Men's Soccer (Westbrook)
Sam Rossetti (1), So., Field Hockey (Shelton)
Rachael Skinner (1), So., Women's Soccer (Uncasville)
Cory Tobler (3), Sr., Men's Soccer (Portland)
Kelly Wallace (2), Sr., Women's Soccer (South Windsor)
Katie Wilson (2), Sr., Women's Volleyball (Pittsburg, CA)
EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE UNIVERSITY
LITTLE EAST CONFERENCE SELECTIONS
Team Record: 6-12 (2-9 in LEC/11th of 12 teams); Did not make LEC playoffs
Chicorka (below left), DeLuca
Laura Chicorka Fr. F Third Team Enfield (Enrico Fermi)
Eastern's first freshman All-LEC since 2001; 4th on team in points (8); Started every match.
Lauren DeLuca Sr. B Third Team South Windsor
Third team in 2011; Led team with nine defensive saves; Started every match
Team Record: 19-13* (4-3 in LEC/4th of 8); Lost in first round of LEC tournament
Katie Wilson Sr. MH First Team Pittsburg, CA (Norwich Free Academy, CT)
Eastern's first All-LEC since 2009; Leads LEC in kills and points per set and is second in attack pct.; third nationally in points per set and 11th in kills per set; needs 16 kills for 1,000 in 3 years.
*-Has qualified for ECAC tournament
Team Record: 9-6-3 (6-1-0 LEC/t-1st of 8 teams); Lost in semifinals of LEC playoffs
Below: Karahalios, Marchitto, Wallace, Downer
Gia Karahalios Fr. B South Windsor
Centerback who started every match and led all players in mpg (83.0); Fourth ROY in program history; opponents averaged only 1.1 goals per match.
Chelsea Downer Sr. MF First Team Colchester (Bacon Academy)
3-year player; 10th in LEC and third on team in points (9-3-21), exceeding the combined total of her first two seasons; had 5 game-winners, two serving as "Golden Goals" in LEC play.
Gia Karahalios Fr. B First Team South Windsor
Sixth first-team freshman pick in program history.
Daniela Marchitto Sr. F First Team Orange (Amity Regional)
1st team in 2009 and '11, 2nd team in 2010; 2009 ROY, 2011 Offensive POY
3rd four-time All-LEC in program history, 1st since 2004; Led team in goals and points (10-4-24) for 2nd straight year; 3rd all-time in career goals (43) and points (103).
Kelly Wallace Sr. MF Second Team South Windsor
1st team in 2010 and 2011; Led LEC in assists for the second time and team in assists for 3rd time;broke program season assist record of 14
in final match of season; ranks among top 15 nationally in assists and assist per match; set program career record of 33 assists during season.
Team Record: 17-1-1* (6-0-1 LEC/1st of 8 teams); Won LEC playoffs
*-Has qualified for NCAA tournament
Bradley Fletcher Sr. B Middletown (Xavier)
2nd Eastern player to win the award in as many years and fourth player in 7-year history of award; LEC ROY in 209.
Matt Furman Sr. F Montville
3rd Eastern player to win award in last five years; led LEC in goals (13) and points (31)
Bradley Fletcher Sr. B First Team Middletown (Xavier)
Started every match, averaging 91.1 mpg, sitting out only 30 minutes all season; team allowed an oaverage of just over half-a-goal a game.
Matt Furman Sr. F First Team Montville
Led team in goals and points for third time, totaling 4 game-winners.
Jordan Munsell Sr. K First Team Waterford
1st-year starter posted 17-1-1 record with LEC-leading 8.0 shutouts and LEC-leading 0.63 GAA; 2nd in LEC with .831 save pct. Started 4 consecutive shutouts during season.
Mitch Power Jr. MF First Team Douglas, MA
3rd on team in points and tied for second in goals (7-3-17), exceeding the total of his first 2 seasons combined; 4 game-winners; MVP of LEC playoffs after scoring first goal of championship match;
Cory Tobler Sr. F First Team Portland
2nd-team All-LEC as a junior; 2nd on team in points and assists and tied for 2nd in goals (7-6-20); 4 game-winners; set personal season-highs in goals and points and tied previous season high for assists.
Christopher Giustina Jr. B Second Team Enfield (Enrico Fermi)
2nd-year player is tied for second in the LEC in assists; started all 18 matches in which he appeared, averaging 88.2 mpg.; helped team to 9 shutouts and never more than 1 goal in a match over the last 9 matches.
Carl Stensland Jr. MF Second Team Storrs (E.O. Smith)
2nd-year player dominated the midfield for Eastern; recovered from an injury-plagued start to appear in 18 matches with 16 starts and average just under 80.0 mpg; contributed 2 goals and three assists.
Top row (from left): Fletcher, Furman, Munsell.
Second row (from left): Power, Giustina, Tobler.
Third row: Stensland.
After 110 minute stalemate, Colonials advances to final on PK shootout
MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Both the Eastern Connecticut State University and Western Connecticut State University women's soccer teams had their opportunities for additional goals through 110 minutes of action in Saturday's Little East Conference semifinal contest at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
At right: Eastern's Kelly Wallace (left) closes in on Western's Camille Lawson in the first half of Saturday's LEC semifinal at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
After the two most successful teams in the conference playoff's 14-year history played to a 1-1 double-overtime tie, third-seeded Western (15-3-3) moved into Sunday's noon championship match against top-seeded host Massachusetts Boston with a 3-1 penalty kick advantage over second-seeded Eastern (9-6-3).
Tracy Sales, Sarah Menta and Katie Wolfe all converted penalty kicks for Western, with Wolfe sealing things when she drove her 12-yard attempt under the crossbar for her team's third successful try on five tries. Eastern freshman Gia Karahalios (South Windsor) recorded Eastern's only make, drilling her shot into the upper right-hand corner of the cage.
With Western shooting first, both teams missed their first attempts before Sales and Karahalios traded goals. Menta gave her team the lead for good and Western senior keeper Caitlin Avery preserved that lead by denying Eastern's top scorer on the season - senior Daniela Marchitto (Orange)- with the only save of the session. Down 2-1, Eastern had an opportunity to tie after Western missed its fourth attempt, but Eastern junior Tamar Merheb's (Bethel) bid sailed wide to the right. Wolfe ended the contest seconds later.
It was the third time that an Eastern-Western LEC playoff match was decided on penalty kicks. Western prevailed, 4-1, on PKs in the 2002 semifinals at Eastern's Thomas Nevers Field, and Eastern advanced on sudden death PKs in the 2004 semifinals at Keene, NH.
Eastern, which downed Western, 1-0, late in sudden death overtime here in late September, scored first Saturday on Merheb's fourth goal of the season which came on senior Kelly Wallace's (South Windsor) perfectly-place corner kick in the tenth minute.(With her 14th assist, Wallace broke the Eastern season record in that category). That lead stood until Western pulled even less than two minutes before the break when Cecelia Dias scored her first goal of the season on a cross from Sales. Sales threaded a perfect ball through two Eastern defenders to Dias, who hammered an 18-yarder under the cross bar.
Eastern keeper Mackenzie MacLeod (Northfield) made two of her four first-half saves in the first four minutes of the match to keep Western from jumping out quickly, and with 13 minutes left in the first half, made a spectacular leaping save of Sales' high shot, knocking it over the crossbar. Two minutes into play, MacLeod gathered in a high bouncer of Samantha Trayer's free kick, then dove at the post two minutes later to knock down Sales' free kick. The rebound fell in front of the goal before Eastern was able to clear it out of danger.
Wallace's header off a serve went wide of the left post eight minutes into play, and Marchitto hammered a wide open shot from inside the box right at Western keeper Jamie Trayer four minutes later.
The Warriors had three legitimate chances to break the tie in the second half. Thirteen minutes into the second half, junior Blair Church (New London) took the ball wide left on Wallace's corner kick, and Chelsea Downer (Colchester) a minute later couldn't convert two chances two minutes apart, coming up empty on a one-timer off a cross, which was saved by Avery, and firing an open attempt on the right flank into the side of the net.
Avery didn't allow a goal and made three saves over the final 65 minutes after taking over for Jamie Trayer to start the second half. MacLeod stopped six shots. Both teams had 12 shots.
Since losing in double overtime at Eastern Sept. 29 -- Western has not lost, winning nine and tying two. After that victory, Eastern ended its season with four wins, two ties and three losses over its final nine contests. The Warriors are unbeaten (5-0-1) against the Colonials the last six times the clubs have met. Earlier in the series, Western had captured nine straight.
The winningest post-season team with seven championships, Western meets UMass Boston for the second time in three years in the final. Western edged UMass Boston, 1-0, in the 2010 title match after the Beacons had advanced with a PK shootout over Eastern at the Mansfield Complex. In Saturday's other semifinal, UMass Boston shut out fourth-seeded Keene State for the second time this season, this time by a 3-0 score.