MANSFIELD, Conn. – Junior midfielder Aly Clarke (Mystic) has never been a volume goal-scorer in college – only three goals through her first 31 career games – but she has proven to be a timely one in 2017.
For the second time in the first 17 days of this season, Clarke gave the Eastern Connecticut State University women's soccer team a 2-1 overtime victory by scoring the golden goal, this time in a non-conference match against Castleton University Sunday afternoon at the Mansfield Outdoor Complex.
A second-year transfer from the Division II level, Clarke's first multi-goal match accounted for both goals for Eastern, which won its second match in two days following a five-game winless (0-3-2) streak. This year, Clarke has scored five of the team's 11 goals, with the first of her career coming 10:21 into overtime in a season-opening victory over Roger Williams University Sept. 1 at the Springfield College Invitational.
Castleton (2-3-1) lost for the first time in its last three matches.
After Clarke's goal nine minutes into the second half staked Eastern to a 1-0 lead -- a 30-yard drive off a Castleton throw-in that Spartan senior keeper Kiley Baran (Granby, MA) touched but could not control -- Castleton scored on its second and final shot of game, with freshman midfielder Rylee Nichols (North Clarendon, VT) getting her second of the year.
Eastern failed on several prime opportunities late in regulation – All-America senior midfielder Maggie Bodington (Stratford) and Clarke sending free kicks just over the crossbar, and All-New England senior forward Emily Becher (Brooklyn) sending a shot just wide. In overtime, senior back Krista Petersen (Wallingford) headed Bodington's corner kick wide for would have been the game-winner, but Clarke finally beat Baran to end the match 7:31 into overtime, nailing another 30-yarder just beyond the outstretched hands of the keeper and under the crossbar.
In her collegiate debut, freshman Rachel Videira (Oxford) was credited with the win after taking over in net to start the second half. Sophomore Sarah Fahey (Auburn, MA) made her first career start (second appearance) and left at halftime of a scoreless match. Neither was called upon for a save. Baran made six in losing her first decision after two wins.
Eastern finished with advantages of 21-2 in shots and 10-3 in corners.
Easten hosts University of Massachusetts Dartmouth Saturday at 1 p.m. at Thomas Nevers Field in a Little East Conference game – the second of five straight at home.