SELINSGROVE, Pa. – The Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team never trailed Saturday, finally winning the game when forwards Alex Kallgren (Dudley, MA) and Brianna Passero (Trumbull) hooked up to break the second tie with nine minutes left in a 3-2 victory over Wilkes University in the consolation game of the Susquehanna University Connie Harnum Memorial Classic at Sassafrass Field.
Wilkes (0-2) had tied the match for the second time with 12 minutes left when junior Marissa Surdy lifted a shot over the head of senior goalie Samantha Scavo (Redding), but Kallgren answered with what proved to be the game-winner (the sixth of her career) two minutes later on a sweep shot through traffic on a pass from the left side by Passero. Freshman Khiara Valentine (Morristown, NJ) set up the winning goal by carrying over midfield before spotting Passero alone on the left side.
The goal was the first of the year and 24th in the career of Kallgren, the current active career leader in goals, who who is ranked third all-time. Eastern has won seven of its last nine matches, dating back to last season.
Trailing 2-1 at halftime, the Lady Colonels spent most of the second half in Eastern (1-1)'s defensive end. Minutes after Eastern sophomore Stephanie Hogan (Northford) cleared a shot off the line created by a stolen pass at the top of the arc, Wilkes finally gained the equalizer directly off a penalty corner.
All three first-half goals came in a span of just over seven minutes. Kallgren helped give the Warriors the first lead when she set up senior Darianne Mastricola's (Jefferson, NJ) first goal of the year, and senior Caroline Regan (Niantic) snapped a 1-1 tie with her first career goal off a pass from Passero with four minutes left in the first half. The go-ahead goal was also set up by Passero as Eastern was able to convert after failing to connect on consecutive penalty corner tries minutes earlier. The first corner was broken up by Wilkes sophomore goalie Dallas Kendra and the second carried wide left.
Scavo kicked out eight shots while Kendra made only three saves while allowing the three goals.
In the first meeting between the programs, Wilkes outshot Eastern, 19-9 and managed a slim 9-7 edge in penalty corners.
Eastern hosts Massachusetts Dartmouth in its Little East Conference and home-opener Wednesday at 5 p.m.