(COURTESY OF ECONN SPORTS INFORMATION)
WILLAMANTIC, Conn. – The Eastern Connecticut State University) women's soccer team moved a step closer to its sixth Little East Conference regular-season title in the last 13 years by defeating the University of Southern Maine, 4-0, Saturday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.
The only unbeaten team in the conference with two regular-season matches remaining, Eastern (10-3-1, 5-0-0 LEC) has already beaten its two closest competitors by 1-0 scores on the road (Western Connecticut and Keene State College). The Warriors look to clinch the regular-season title and gain the No. 1 playoff berth with remaining matches at Rhode Island College next Saturday and against visiting University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Oct. 31 at Nevers Field. Southern Maine drops its seventh straight contest to fall to 3-10 overall and remains winless in the Little East at 0-4.
Four different players scored goals for Eastern, with junior midfielder Joanna Weir (Hebron, Conn.) scoring her first goal of the year and adding an assist, junior midfielder Hailey Lehning (Woodbury, Conn.) scoring her third goal of 2015 and contributing an assist, first-year sophomore transfer forward Anna Manser (Manchester, Conn.) recording her first goal in an Eastern uniform and sophomore forward Emily Becher (Brooklyn, Conn.) adding her conference-leading 11th goal.
Lehning and Weir scored 12 minutes apart early in the match and Becher made it 3-0 by halftime. Manser's 16-yard header on a cross from sophomore back Maggie Bodington (Stratford, Conn.) ended the scoring with 16 minutes into the second half.
All three keepers saw action for Eastern, as did 20 position players. Freshman Kaley Kennedy (Enfield, Conn.) played the final 21:52 without a save in her collegiate debut. Senior Rachel Skelton (East Lyme, Conn.) won her tenth decision of the season without making a save in the first half, and freshman Kayla Labrecque (Westhampton, Mass.) recorded the only save by the trio in working first 23 minutes of the second half. The shutout is the seventh in 14 matches for Eastern.
Eastern outshot Southern Maine (3-10-0, 0-5-0 LEC) 30-2, with Labrecque recording the team's save with 25 minutes left.
Southern Maine senior keeper Marissa Temple (Grafton, Mass.) – second in the LEC in total saves – recorded her 100th save of the season, finishing with nine.
Eastern hosts Fitchburg State University Wednesday at 6 p.m. in a non-conference match. Southern Maine hosts Framingham State in a non-conference game on Wednesday (3:00 p.m.).
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