MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Nikki Gerjarusak scored the game-winning goal in the seventh minute Wednesday evening to lift the Wesleyan University field hockey team (2-1) to a 1-0 win over in-state rival Eastern Connecticut State University (1-3) on Smith Field.
It didn't take long for Gerjarusak to score as the freshman took advantage of a loose ball on the left side of the shooting circle and sent it past the goalkeeper at the 7:08 mark. Gerjarusak has now scored a goal in each of her first three collegiate games and leads the team with six points on three goals.
Both defenses held strong the rest of the way, making it difficult for either team to place a shot on net as Wesleyan took the 1-0 lead into the break.
In the second half, the Cardinals pieced together a strong scoring opportunity with just under 10 minutes to play. Following a penalty corner, Ali Friend sent a shot at net that was blocked by a defender. Cici Frattasio was there for the rebound but her attempt was saved by Eastern senior goalkeeper Maddie LaRusso (Enfield).
Wesleyan emerged with the slim win again after turning back Eastern's upset bid at the Mansfield Complex a year ago, prevailing in a shootout.
Eastern applied heavy offensive pressure in the closing minutes, but couldn't get off a clean shot at net as Wesleyan held off the score en route to its first home win of 2017.
The Cardinals outshot Eastern 19-10, and held a 9-4 advantage in penalty corners.
Delaney Wood notched her second win of the season (2-1), and first shutout of her career as she recorded four saves between the posts. LaRusso stopped five shots.
Eastern opens its home season Saturday at 2 p.m. against the University of Southern Maine at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex. USM owns the all-time series, 16-4, but the Warriors have gained a split of the last four matches.
Game summary courtesy of Wesleyan University Sports Information.