PROVIDENCE, RI –The Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team has been a slow starter but a fast finisher this season. And Tuesday's night's 3-2 non-conference victory over Johnson & Wales University was a perfect example.
Trailing 1-0 at halftime, Eastern (4-6) scored all of its goals in a span of 27 minutes in the second half to defeat Johnson & Wales (2-7) for the third straight season and record its third win in the last four tries following a 1-5 start.
Sophomore forward Khiara Valentine (Morristown, NJ) moved into a tie for fifth place in the Little East Conference with her sixth and seventh goals of the year, senior Maddie LaRusso (Enfield) shut out the Wildcats over the final 29 minutes, and senior forward Tia LaFRance Boyce (Pawcatuck) broke a tie with her second game-winning goal of the season with under four minutes left on freshman Julia Koonjy's (Jefferson, NJ) second assist of the season.
Valentine, who has six goals in the team's last four matches, tied the contest twice, 1-1 four minutes into the second half on an assist from senior all-time scoring leader Alex Kallgren (Dudley, MA), and 2-2 eight minutes later with an unassisted marker.
The game appeared headed for overtime before LaFrance Boyce controlled the ball in front of the goal, spun to her left and fired a shot past JWU junior keeper Claire Nolan for her second game-winning goal in four matches. Johnson & Wales leading scorer Adriana Scala entered play with five goals but was limited to just one off-the mark shot by the Eastern defense.
LaRusso stopped seven shots for her fourth win while Nolan kicked out eight.
Eastern hosts Salem State University in a Little East match Saturday at 1 p.m.