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Women's Soccer: Early Second-Half Goal Enough as Warriors Post Fourth Home Shutout

Women's Soccer: Early Second-Half Goal Enough as Warriors Post Fourth Home Shutout

MANSFIELD, Conn. --  Junior midfielder Stephanie Sanchez (Manchester) scored her third goal of the season on assists from senior midfielder Alissa Beedle (Bethany) and senior defender Tara Shayler (Avon) nine minutes into the second half and keepers Kayla Labrecque (Westhampton, MA) and Erin Collins (Millis, MA) combined on seven saves as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team edged Johnson & Wales University, 1-0, Monday night in a non-conference match at the Mansfield outdoor Complex

Eastern (5-2-0) recorded its fourth straight shutout home win of the year and tenth victory in ten series matches against Johnson & Wales (3-5), which was coming off last year's16-4-1 season.

The Wildcats outshot the Warriors 9-4 in the first half and had the better of play before Sanchez – who started the second half after coming off the bench in the first -- recorded the first career game-winner in the 54th minute when Shayler sent a long crossing pass from 35 yards out in front of the Eastern bench to the far left post, where Sanchez got a foot on the ball. Wildcat junior keeper Colleen Lynch fell on the ball, but lost possession, and Sanchez slid it under the prone keeper.

Freshman midfielder Haley Montesanto (East Haven), who also started the second half after entering the game midway through the first, gained control on the scoring drive by winning the ball at midfield sent a long ball down the right sideline. Beedle caught up to it and sent it back up top to Shayler, who returned it to Beedle on the right sideline, then took another return pass before taking one touch and finding Sanchez near the left post. Shayler's long serve sailed over the head of the last Wildcat defender to the foot of Sanchez.

Sanchez' go-ahead goal came on Eastern's first shot of the second half and was one of only two in the period for the Warriors, who were outshot, 15-6.

The Wildcats forced three early Eastern offsides and got several dangerous shots from freshman forwards Emily Zebilsky  in the first 15 minutes and Jordan Restivo with four minutes left in the first half. Restivo took a pass from senior forward Deja Hursey  and maneuvered around Labrecque, who went down, but her shot from the from the right side sailed wide of the left post.  

Collins made four saves in playing the second half to record her third win without a loss – all in relief of Labrecque. Eastern has outscored its opponent 11-0 in the second half this year after managing only one first-half goal all year.

Eastern hosts Massachusetts Dartmouth in a Little East Conference match Saturday at 1 p.m. at Thomas Nevers Field.