DANBURY, CT – Sophomore Morgan Matthews (Bethel, CT) tallied two goals including the game-winner in overtime to lead the Western Connecticut State University field hockey team to a thrilling 3-2 overtime win over visiting Little East Conference foe Salem State University on Saturday afternoon at The Westside Athletic Complex. With less than two minutes remaining in the extra session, Matthews streaked down the left side to gather a pass from classmate Carly Matasavage (Middlebury, CT). She then broke in alone, faked a shot, scurried around the sprawled out goalkeeper and blasted a shot into the open side of the cage, sending the crowd into a frenzy as the Colonials improved to 2-2 overall and 2-0 in conference play.
The hosts controlled much of first half play, outshooting the Vikings, 16-2. The Colonials jumped out to a 1-0 lead when Matthews stole the ball and smashed a low shot into the net on a breakaway 11:48 into the contest. Moments later, rookie Kimberly Brower (Mahopac, NY) threaded a pass through the legs of a defender, finding Matasavage who then found the back of the goal, stretching the advantage to 2-0.
The second half was much different than the first. Salem State came to life and controlled much of the tempo. The Vikings eventually erased the deficit, deadlocking the score at 2-2. Junior Alyssa Drouin (Methuen, MA) took a feed from rookie Vanessa Yavorski (Georgetown, MA) and scored from point blank range before senior Julia Klein (Liverpool, NY) found the back of the cage off a penalty corner pass from sophomore Erin Davies (Arlington, MA) midway through the stanza, forcing the overtime.
WestConn had the first quality scoring chance in the extra frame with 4:30 remaining. After a visitor foul, the Colonials quickly started play and raced downfield on a 2-0 breakaway. However, sophomore netminder Gabriella Cerro (Beverly, MA) charged out from the cage, surprising the offense while booting the ball away. Shortly thereafter, Matthews would provide the heroics as she buried the game-winner.
Colonials rookie goalkeeper Neve Manion (Newington, CT) stopped four shots to improve to 2-2 overall, while Cerro finished with 21 saves and dropped to 0-4. For the contest, the hosts outshot the Vikings, 37-10, while holding a commanding edge in penalty corners, 15-7.
"Our team was able to hold it together after losing the lead in the second half by finishing in overtime and working together. We're excited about our 2-0 start in conference play," said Colonials head coach Dani McDonnell following the nailbiting win.
WestConn returns to action at non-conference opponent Vassar on Wednesday at 7 p.m.