MANSFIELD, Conn. – In the final six minutes, junior goalie Keira Integlia (Branford) made all four of her saves and broke up Regis College's best scoring chance in the second half to help lift the Eastern Connecticut State University field hockey team to a 2-1 non-conference victory Wednesday afternoon at Rick McCarthy Field.
In snapping a three-game losing streak and defeating Regis (3-8) by a 2-1 score for the third time in three meetings in the series, Eastern (3-8) got goals from sophomore midfielder Brianna Nolan (Watertown) and senior forward Khiara Valentine (Morristown, NJ) in the first seven minutes but after Regis trimmed the gap to one goal early in the second quarter, the Warriors had to weather the Pride's challenge to force overtime in the final four minutes.
In those final four minutes, Regis was awarded four of its ten penalty corners and put four shots on Integlia, who stopped freshman forward Nora Buck three times. In addition to the saves, Integlia made the play of the game with 30 seconds left when she smothered Regis freshman scoring leader Sheridan Blaha's 1v1 bid.
Consecutive passes from sophomore forward Hope Celli and Buck had sprung Blaha for a breakaway and an open attempt in the circle, but Integlia came off her line to cover the ball before Blaha could unleash a shot. Blaha has nearly half (11) of her team's goal this year but was held without a shot by Eastern.
Nolan's third goal of the season – first in three weeks – following Valentine's hit-in on a penalty corner gave Eastern the lead just 46 seconds into the match, and Valentine's third goal of the year made it 2-0 just over six minutes later. Junior forward Sydney Hogan's (Northford) first career assist set up Valentine's 18th career goal. Hogan carried the ball a long distance on the right wing and found Valentine near the end line. Valentine unloaded a shot from a difficult angle that career across the goal mouth and inside the far left post.
At left: In this first-half play, all eyes are on goalie Keira Integlia and the ball (visible between the legs of Regis' No. 5), which rolled just wide of the cage.
Freshman Amelia Thomas had helped Regis get back into the game after the Pride allowed the two early goals. Thomas's third goal of the year in the 18th minute followed a penalty corner by senior forward Ashley Chipman. Off the corner, the ball became loose in the circle and Thomas drove it past Integlia inside the left post.
Junior goalie Hope Winkin made two saves for Regis, which held a 10-9 edge in penalty corner. Eastern held a slim 11-8 advantage in shots.
Eastern returns to Little East Conference action Saturday at Plymouth State University at noon.