MANSFIELD, Conn. – In deference to Seniors' Day, junior attack Allison Wylie (Ellington) was not in the starting lineup for only the second time this year and did not play her accustomed number of minutes, but she still managed to make her presence felt at a key time in helping the Eastern Connecticut State University women's lacrosse team deny the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 12-7, and remain undefeated in the Little East Conference Saturday at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
Trailing by two goal four minutes into the second half, Eastern (11-4, 4-0 LEC) outscored UMass Dartmouth (7-7, 1-3 LEC) 8-1 the rest of the way to remain as one of two unbeatens in the Little East with two games remaining in the regular season.
With their 22nd win over UMass Dartmouth in the 26-game series which avenged last year's one-goal road loss, the Warriors move into sole possession of first place in the conference, a half-game ahead of idle Plymouth State University. which will host Rhode Island College (winless in the conference) Sunday afternoon in a makeup game looking for its fourth win in as many LEC contests.
With Eastern clinging to a precarious 9-7 lead late in the game Saturday, Wylie converted her only shot of the game with a catch-and-shoot goal off a high pass from junior attack Katie Burke (South Windsor) with 7:31 left that boosted the Warriors' lead to three and prompted a UMass timeout. The lead stood at three until senior defender Devyne Doran (South Kingstown, RI) caused a turnover, scooped up the ground ball, and beat UMass sophomore goalie Kaitlyn Burchill following a long run to all but sew up the victory.
Doran, last year's LEC Defensive Player-of-the-Year, won five of Eastern's 12 draws, caused three turnovers and picked up two ground balls and converted all three of her shots to pace the Warriors, with senior goalie Taylor Emmerson (Colchester) making six of her nine saves in the first half when the teams played to a 4-4 tie after 30 minutes.
UMass connected on only one of seven free-position shots, with Emmerson making saves on four of them.
UMass used its only significant scoring run of the game to score three times to take a 6-4 lead early in the second half, with senior attack Catrina Longo scoring two of her four goals in that span. At that point, Eastern senior midfielder and LEC scoring leader Paige Schneider (East Lyme) scored three time in less than seven minutes, one coming on a free-position, one unassisted and one off a feed from Burke, the LEC assist leader.
Schneider matched Longo with four goals and one assist – giving her one more goal this year than her total of 57 from a year ago -- with Burke contributing two goals and two assists (giving her 37) and freshman attack Alyssa Powers (Ellington) recording her seventh multiple-goal game of the year, with two. Powers' first goal of the match followed Schneider's goal that brought the Warriors back from a two-goal hole and tied the match, 6-6. Schneider then potted two in a row and Burke added another to make it 9-6 and cap a run of five straight goals.
Junior Julia DiPillo won five of the Corsair's nine draws and senior midfielder Kathryn Gibb led UMD with five ground balls, sophomore defender Brooke Martel and DiPillo each collecting four.
Burchill made 11 saves for the Corsairs, who were outshot, 33-20.
Eastern visits Western Connecticut State University in a conference game Tuesday at 4 p.m.