GORHAM, ME – Sophomore Kaleigh Panek (Shelton, CT) and rookie Myah Croze (Bristol, CT) each tallied goals as the Western Connecticut State University women's soccer squad edged the University of Southern Maine, 2-1, in the Little East Conference opener for both teams on Saturday afternoon at Hannaford Field. With the win, the Colonials improved to 3-4-1 overall and 1-0 in league play, while the Huskies dropped to 4-3 and 0-1.
"After a tough 1-0 loss earlier this week, I was pleased with our grittiness in another close game today," said WestConn head coach Alex Harrison following the contest. "It was a positive way to start our LEC schedule," he added.
The visitors torched the hosts for the first scoring strike when Panek fired a shot into the back of the net from the top of the box for her fifth goal of the season in the 6th minute of play.
The Colonials would hold the lead at halftime. Croze then used a pair of nifty dribbling moves to gain some space and rip a rocket just inside the far post from the right side of the box. The goal marked her team-leading sixth goal of the year and extended the lead to 2-0 in the 56th minute.
The Huskies sliced the deficit to 2-1 with less than five minutes remaining in regulation when Emma Dennison knocked in a header off the lone corner kick opportunity of the afternoon for the hosts. However, they were unable to muster another shot the rest of the way.
WestConn sophomore goalie Karly Martin (Bristol, CT) improved to 3-4 and turned aside four shots, while Southern Maine netminder Kayla Gorman fell to 4-3 and finished with four saves.
WestConn returns to the field at non-conference foe Ramapo College on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m.