Panthers drop conference opener, host Keene State Saturday
NORTHFIELD, Vt. – The Eastern Connecticut State University defense limited Plymouth State University to two shots and senior keeper Rachel Skelton (East Lyme, Conn.) needed only two saves to record her 10th career shutout when the Warriors blanked the Panthers, 2-0, in the Little East Conference opener for both teams Saturday afternoon at Thomas Nevers Field.
While the Eastern (4-1-1) defense was lowering its team goals-against average to 0.80, the offense became the first this year to score more than one goal against Plymouth State (3-2-0) junior keeper Annaliese Schmidt (Newmarket, N.H.). The LEC leader with a 0.29 GAA entering play, had given up only one goal in four starts in 2015.
Dominating the ball early, Eastern scored both of its goals in a span of 13 minutes in the first half. LEC sophomore goal leader Emily Becher (Brooklyn, Conn.) recorded her fifth of the year off a free kick by sophomore transfer Anna Manser (Manchester, Conn.) in the 26th minute, and sophomore Krista Petersen (Wallingford, Conn.) making it 2-0 when she headed in sophomore back Maggie Bodington's (Stratford) corner kick for her first career goal.
Manser had provided Eastern with its best chance 19 minutes into action with a header off a cross from Becher, but Schmidt was equal to the task and kept the match scoreless. Seven minutes later, the pair hooked up again, giving Eastern the 1-0 lead.
Eastern, which has won 17 of the last 18 matches in this series, threatened throughout the afternoon by sending in crosses from the right side, but was unable to pad its lead in the second half. Needing two goals to tie, Plymouth threatened several times in the final minute, but could not break through.
Eastern outshot Plymouth, 15-2 and did not allow a corner kick, totaling four of its own. Schmidt made eight saves in her second loss of the year.
PSU returns home to host rival Keene State College Saturday at 1:00 p.m. Eastern hosts Wesleyan University Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. in a non-conference match.
(Courtesy of Eastern Connecticut Sports Information)
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