MANSFIELD, Conn. – Goalies Allison Chappell and Jillian Delaney turned aside a total of 13 shots and the Bridgewater State University field hockey team converted four of its five shots into goals as the Bears downed Eastern Connecticut State University, 4-2, on the final day of the Little East Conference regular season Saturday afternoon on Seniors' Day.
The loss – Eastern's (7-8, 6-5 LEC) second straight after a four-game winning streak – guarantees that the Warriors will be on the road in the first round of the LEC playoffs Oct. 28. The fifth-seeded Warriors will visit No. 4 Westfield State University at 3:30 p.m. in one of four first-round matches. Bridgewater (7-8, 5-6 LEC) entered the day locked in a four-way tie for seventh place. The Bears gain the No. 7 seed in the eight-team playoffs and will visit No. 2 seed and defending champion Keene State College.
Bridgewater responded to Eastern's early goal with a flurry of three goals in 12 minutes later in the first half, and after Eastern sophomore Lindsey McKeon's (Chester) first career goal sliced the Eastern deficit to one (3-2), Julianne Kilduff put the game in the win column for the Bears with her fifth goal of the season with just over three minutes left.
Bridgewater's first two goals followed penalty corners from Kathryn Jacobson, who took a return pass to register the first goal and tie the match at 1-1 in the 17th minute. Jacobson was also credited with an assist on Emma Daly's seventh goal of the to pushed the lead to 3-1 with seven minutes left in the first half. Samantha Hayes, the BSU team leader with 14 goals, assisted on Janet Maher's go-ahead goal that gave Bridgewater a 2-1 lead with ten minutes left in the half.
Eastern outshot Bridgewater, 20-5 and had an 11-7 lead in penalty corners. Freshman Heather Sholtes (Bethel) played the final 68 minutes in net in place of starter Maddie LaRusso, but did not make a save.
Westfield holds a 14-6 series advantage over the Warriors, including this season's 1-0 victory Sept. 19 at Westfield, MA. However, in the only LEC playoff matchup between the teams, Eastern shut out the Owls, 3-0, in 2015 at the Mansfield Complex in the Warriors' first LEC playoff victory in 14 years. Eastern reached the playoff final for the only time ever that season.
Eastern hosts Kean University in the regular-season finale Tuesday at 7 p.m.
Little East Conference
1. Worcester State (10-1)
2. Keene State (8-3)
3. Plymouth State (8-3)
4. Westfield State (7-4)
5. EASTERN CONN. (6-5)
6. UMass Dartmouth (6-5)
7. Bridgewater State (5-6)
8. Western Connecticut (5-6)
9. Fitchburg State (5-6)
10. Southern Maine (4-7)
11. Framingham State (1-10)
12. Salem State (1-10)
Saturday, October 28
No. 1. Worcester State (10-1) hosting No. 8. Western Connecticut (5-6)
No. 2. Keene State (8-3) hosting No. 7. Bridgewater State (5-6)
No. 3 Plymouth State (8-3) hosting No. 6. UMass Dartmouth (6-5)
No. 4. Westfield State (7-4) hosting No. 5. EASTERN CONN. (6-5)