MANSFIELD, Conn. -- Emily Becher (Brooklyn) scored her 12th game-winning goal -- fifth this year -- in 29 career matches with 50.1 seconds left in the first half to power the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team to a 1-0 non-conference victory over Connecticut College Tuesday night at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Becher scored her team-leading sixth goal of the year -- connecting on a head for a goal for the first time in her college career -- on a pass from freshman Kaley Pratt (Milford, MA), who recorded her first career point. Hailey Lehning (Woodbury) set up the play when she sent the ball ahead near midfield to Pratt, who lofted the ball into the 18-yard box. The 5-foot-2 inch Becher got a head on the ball and it bounced past Conn keeper Bryanna Montalvo (pictured, Rocky Hill) inside the left post.
Eastern (6-2-1) keeper Rachel Skelton (East Lyme) made six saves to record her fifth shutout in nine starts this year. Skelton, who stopped nine shots in last year's 2-1 loss at Conn College (1-3-1), was not required to make any difficult shots, even though the Camels held a 12-8 advantage in shots.
Montalvo robbed Becher 11 minutes into the match when she made a diving stop on Becher's drive from 12 yards on the right wing, and Eastern back Maggie Bodington (Stratford) nearly gave the Warriors a 2-0 lead with 15 minutes left, but her blast from the right side sailed over the cross bar.
Livi Block of Conn made several dangerous runs on the wing for Conn, but the Warriors' defense -- led by starters (Bodington, Jamie Belden (Middlebury), Krista Peterson (Wallingford) and Michele D'Agata (West Suffield) -- continually stepped up to intercept passes before the Camels could threaten.
For Connecticut College, which won 16 matches last year and its first NESCAC tournament title, its best chance came in the final seconds when Cathy Higgins (West Hartford) unloaded a drive down the middle of the field from beyond midfield which carried inside six yards without a teammate able to get a head on it.
Camel Tracks-Not Including Tuesday Night's Action:
First-year Lauren Steele (Westford, Mass.) scored a pair of goals to lead her team in a 2-2 tie against Hamilton Saturday. Steele scored the equalizer for the Camels with 7:17 remaining in regulation for the hosts. Senior Libby Thomas (Cumberland, Maine) and rookie forward Alex Baltazar (Ludlow, Mass.) scored goals for the Camels in a 2-0 win against Coast Guard Tuesday. Steele is averaging .67 goals per game to rank third in the NESCAC and is tied for fourth in the conference with 1.33 points per game.
Junior keeper Bryanna Montalvo (Rocky Hill, Conn.) made a huge save point-blank range to help preserve the 2-2 tie with Hamilton Saturday. Montalvo has posted a .75 goals against average to rank third in the NESCAC and is fifth in NESCAC save percentage (.844) and saves per game (4.5).