MANSFIELD, Conn. --(Bob Molta, ECSU)--In her third career start – first at forward – freshman Hailey Lehning (Woodbury, Conn.) scored her second and third career goals as the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team ended a three-game losing streak with a 2-1 non-conference victory over Connecticut College Tuesday night at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
After scoring her first career goal three days ago in a 3-1 Little East Conference loss at Keene State, Lehning gave Eastern (5-4-0) a lead in the ninth minute, then broke a tie and scored the game-winner with 18 minutes left on a feed from sophomore midfielder Samantha Bottaro (Southington, Conn.). The point was the first in the career of Bottaro.
The home match was the first for Eastern in over a month, the Warriors losing four of six after winning twice at their season-opening Warrior Classic Aug. 30-31.
The goal which gave the Warriors the early lead against Conn (2-3-1) materialized in the back when sophomore back Alyssa Valenti (Tolland, Conn.) -- making her first appearance at Eastern -- gained control send the ball ahead to senior midfielder Kaitlyn Kennedy (Burlington, Conn.). Kennedy carried it into the offensive end before dishing on the right to Lehning, streaking down the right side. In full stride, Lehning veered toward goal and beat Conn freshman keeper Bella Hall (Manhattan Beach, Calif.) with a low shot at the near post. The goal came on the first shot of the game and was the only one of the half for Eastern.
Freshman forward Annie Higgins (West Hartford, Conn.) had the Camels' first legitimate attempt at the tying goal 15 minutes into the game, but her drive from the right side after taking a pass from junior midfielder Astrid Kempainen (Chazy, N.Y.) sailed over the crossbar. With three minutes left in the first half, senior back Rebecca Raymond (Lowell, Mass.) sent a free kick into the box and, in a crowd, past Eastern junior keeper Rachel Skelton (East Lyme, Conn.). The ball travelled just wide of the left post, however.
Winless (0-3-1) on the road this year, Connecticut College got the equalizer 13 minutes into the second half on a nifty header by Higgins at the left post. The cross came on a line from freshman forward Katelyn Murray (Medfield, Mass.) and was perfectly placed where Higgins' flick drove it under the reach of Skelton.
Bottaro's pass on the game-winning goal led Lehning perfectly. Lehning took several touches and drove a low, hard shot from a difficult angle inside the near post.
Eighteen minutes prior to Lehning's go-ahead goal, the Warriors threatened on senior back Megan Godwin's (Manchester) header from just in front of Hall off a corner kick by Kennedy. The ball was heading inside the left post but caromed off a Connecticut College defender.
Eastern hosts the University of Massachusetts Boston in a Little East Conference match Saturday at 3 p.m.