DANBURY, CT – Rookie Kaleigh Panek (Shelton, CT) and senior Allison Oakley (Beekman, NY) each tallied goals to lead the Western Connecticut State University women's soccer team to a 2-0 victory over visiting Little East Conference opponent Plymouth State University in the regular season finale for both squads on Friday night at the Westside Athletic Complex. With the victory, the Colonials finished the slate at 12-8 overall and 6-2 in league play, securing the top spot in the LEC Postseason Tournament which begins on Tuesday. The Panthers season came to an end at 6-8-2 and 2-6.
"It was a nice way to wrap up the regular season and build some momentum heading into the playoffs. I'm especially proud of our three seniors, Aileen Maloney (Trumbull, CT), Lucy Daniels (Bethel, CT) and Oakley," said WestConn head coach Alex Harrison following the game.
The Colonials controlled the majority of play, outshooting the Panthers, 24-8, while each team garnered a corner kick opportunity. Rookie goalkeeper Karly Martin (Bristol, CT) moved to 5-2 overall and racked up five saves for the hosts, while first-year netminder Cat Robbins (Franklin, MA) dropped to 4-5 and turned aside eight shots for the visitors.
WestConn had the contest's first few quality scoring opportunities in the opening half. Maloney was stopped on a short breakaway attempt by Robbins in the 9th minute of play. Moments later, Panek fired a sharp-angled shot that was halted by a diving Robbins, leaving the score deadlocked at 0-0 at the break.
The Colonials got on the board in the 54th minute when junior Jasmine Grey (Naugatuck, CT) gained control of a free-kick from just inside the sideline and chipped the ball over to Oakley. She then netted her fifth goal of the season off a scrum inside the box. Moments later, Panek blasted a shot off the left post as the Colonials nearly went up by a pair of goals.
It didn't take much longer before Panek gained another chance. In the 73rd minute, she streaked down the right side of the field, taking a feed from junior midfielder Bailey McCollum (Cold Spring, NY) and booted a shot into the top-corner of the twine, good for her team-leading 11th goal of the year, extending the advantage to 2-0.
The hosts would play keep away for the remainder as they sealed their win and postseason berth. WestConn secured the top-seed in the tournament and will host a team to be determined on Friday, November 2. There are six spots in the postseason tournament. The top two seeds receive first-round byes, while spots three through six battle in the quarterfinal round slated to begin on Tuesday.
2018 Little East Conference Women's Soccer Championship Tournament
First Round - Tuesday, October 30
No. 4 Southern Maine vs. No. 5 UMass Dartmouth
No. 3 UMass Boston vs. No. 6 Castleton
Final Four, Hosted by Western Connecticut
Semifinals - Friday, November 2
No. 1 Western Connecticut vs. No. 4/5 Winner
No. 2 Eastern Connecticut vs. No. 3/6 Winner
Championship Match - Saturday, November 3