MANSFIELD, Conn. – Junior Morgan Sanson (Thomaston) scored her second game-winning goal in four days soon after being hit in the mouth by a shot as the Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team broke a tie with two late goals 47 seconds apart in downing Bridgewater State University, 2-0, in a Little East Conference match Wednesday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Sanson, whose overtime Golden Goal rallied back from three goals down Saturday in a 4-3 LEC home win over Plymouth State, scored from virtually the same spot on the field Wednesday, taking Lindsey McKeon's (Chester) feed from the right side and beating Bridgewater (5-5, 3-4 LEC) senior goalie Allison Chappell from close range with a low shot inside the right post with 10:17 left.
It was the team-leading fifth goal of the season and third game-winner for Sanson, a first-year field hockey player who plays softball at Eastern (4-5, 4-3 LEC) in the spring.
Sanson had left the match 14 minutes into the second half after being struck in the mouth by a teammate's shot while camped in front of the goal. Sanson returned nine minutes later and proceeded to break a scoreless tie less than two minutes after returning to the field.
Less than a minute after Sanson broke through for Eastern, freshman Brianna Nolan (Watertown) quickly put the game out of reach when she potted a shot from a bad angle stationed near the end line to the right of the cage. Nolan's first career goal carried low inside the far left post. The scoring play began with a free hit from the sideline by senior Erin Sheehan (North Branford) to senior Stephanie Hogan (Northford). Hogan stick-handled inside the circle and back-handed the ball toward the goal, where a Bridgewater defender failed to clear it, instead propelling it closer to the goal toward Nolan, who swept it past the goalie who stationed at the near post.
The win snaps a two-game losing streak for Eastern against Bridgewater, which had captured eight of the previous ten in the series.
At right: Brianna Nolan battles for the ball in the second half of Wednesday's 2-0 home win over Bridgewater State, and later scored her first career goal to give the Warriors their two-goal lead with 9:30 left in the match. (Photo by Sara Pisanelli)
Playing for the seventh time at home this year, Eastern controlled play early – collecting the first eight shots of the game and the first four penalty corners – but couldn't capitalize 14 minutes into play when Stephanie Hogan lifted a penalty stroke wide to the left of the cage – her first miss in four attempts this year.
Bridgewater did not manage its first shot until senior leading scorer Samantha Hayes – who has 12 goals – swept a shot wide 14 minutes into action, and the Bears were awarded their first penalty corner soon after. That corner, however, proved to be first of four over those final 14 minutes of the half for Bridgewater. Eastern sophomore goalie Keira Integlia (Branford) was forced to make both of her first-half saves in rapid order off the Bears' first two penalty corners on shots by senior Alexandra Zoebisch and sophomore Emma Daly.
Ten minutes before being struck in the face with the ball, Sanson set up sophomore Sydney Hogan (Northford) with a crossing pass from the left, but Sydney Hogan – who was credited with eight shots in the game – sent the ball just wide of the cage.
In front of Integlia, the Eastern defense of Stephanie Hogan, seniors Tess Parker (Columbia) and Sheehan, junior Amy Smith (Trumbull) and freshmen Bryce Makula (Guilford) and Katelyn Miller (Wallingford) spent the afternoon breaking up potential Bridgewater scoring chances before they materialized.
Eastern outshot Bridgewater, 28-8, and each team had seven penalty corners. Chappell made 11 saves and Integlia five. The full match shutout was the first in nine career starts for Integlia, a first-year player who shared one with freshman Abby Harris (Windham, NH) Sept. 19 against LEC foe Salem State University.
Eastern plays the first of three straight road games – one more than its season total to date – Saturday in a conference tilt at Worcester State University at 4 p.m.