WORCESTER, MA – The Western Connecticut State University women's soccer team rallied to edge host Worcester State, 2-1, in a non-conference matchup on Tuesday evening at John F. Coughlin Memorial Field. With the win, the Colonials improved to 9-4-1 overall while the Lancers dropped to 4-6-2.
"We never gave up. But Karly Martin made some great plays to save the game for us. She continues to put forth amazing effort which is evidenced by her being named LEC Goalkeeper of the Week just the other day," said WestConn head coach Alex Harrison following the nailbiting win.
Worcester State scored the only goal of the first half, as junior Maddie Fong (Norton, Mass.) converted a penalty kick in the 35th minute to put the Lancers ahead 1-0.
After a deep Fong shot caused a scramble in the WestConn 18-yard box, the Colonials committed a handball violation, resulting in a Worcester penalty kick. Fong stepped up to take the kick and buried it into the bottom right corner of the net, past the fingertips of Colonial goalkeeper Karly Martin (Bristol, Conn.).
Worcester State held a 10-7 shot advantage in the opening 45 minutes, with a margin of 6-4 in shots on target.
Western Connecticut pushed hard for an equalizer in the opening stages of the second half, and finally broke through in the 55th minute. On a Bailey McCollum (Cold Spring, N.Y.) free kick from 35 yards out, the ball went over the heads of a pair of players trying to head the ball toward the cage, catching Worcester State goalkeeper Ashley Spellman (Lancaster, Mass.) by surprise. Spellman kept the ball out, but the rebound bounced right to the head of sophomore Brooke Gallagher (Middleton, N.Y.), who nodded it over Spellman and into the net to level the score.
The Colonials took the lead in the 69th minute, when sophomore Kaleigh Panek (Shelton, Conn.) put home her 12th goal of the season. Freshman Samantha Larkin (Wallingford, Conn.) played a ball forward from the midfield, which Panek took down with her head and fired into the top right corner of the net to put her team ahead 2-1.
Worcester State had a glorious opportunity to tie the game with under 30 seconds remaining, but freshman Haley Mignon (Tewksbury, Mass.) was denied by Martin on a clean breakaway, sealing the victory for Western Connecticut State.
Spellman took the loss in goal for Worcester State, despite making 11 saves. Martin got the win for the Colonials, making seven saves.
Worcester State will return to action on Saturday for a MASCAC contest on the road at MCLA kicking off at 12 p.m. WestConn will next play the same day at home against Castleton.