WILLIMANTIC, Conn. -- Senior Julia Neilson (Salisbury, Conn.) scored the only goal of the match and sophomore keeper Stacey Schofield (Woodstock, Conn.) posted her seventh career shutout to lift the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team to a 1-0 Little East Conference win over Plymouth State College Saturday at Thomas Nevers Field.
By defeating the Panthers (4-5-0, 2-1-0) by one goal for the third straight year, Eastern (8-1-1, 2-0-1) remains unbeaten in conference play. The Warriors are ranked in a tie for fifth in New England, and are off to their best start after 10 matches in the program's 26-year history.
Neilson scored her eighth career game-winning goal -- the 29th goal of her four-year career -- on an 18-yarder in the 72nd minute. Her shot, which came off a pass from former Housatonic Valley HS teammate Marci Perotti (North Canaan, Conn.), hit the bottom of the crossbar, bounced off PSC keeper Becky Kennedy (West Springfield, Mass.), and dropped in. The point was the first of the career for Perotti, who was inserted on defense just a minute before feeding Neilson the ball for the goal.
Plymouth had two prime opportunies to score in the match. Junior Sandra Petlick (New Castle, N.H.), the team's leading scorer, broke free 15 minutes into the match and fired a point-blank shot at Schofield, who knocked the shot wide as she dove to her right. With 21 minutes left in the match, sophomore Katie Sheridan (West Sayville, N.Y.) watched her 19-yard free kick bounce off the crossbar. The save on Petlick was the only difficult one for Schofield, who recorded her second shutout this season, while Kennedy made six saves for PSC.
The Panthers return home to host Colby-Sawyer College Thursday (Oct. 4) at Panther Field (4:00 p.m.), leading into Saturday's (Oct. 6) key LEC match-up at arch-rival Keene State (1:00 p.m.).