DANBURY, CT - A pair of first-half goals by Brooke Hellman (Newington, CT) and Jenna Gentile (Norwalk, CT) held up as the Western Connecticut State University women's soccer team defeated Keene State College, 2-1 the Little East Conference Women's Soccer Tournament semifinals at the Westside Athletic Complex on Thursday night.
The Colonials, now 16-1-2, will face cross-state rival Eastern Connecticut State University for the 2017 Little East Conference crown on Saturday, November 2 in Mansfield, CT at 1 pm. It will be a re-match of last year's title match which WestConn captured, 2-1, in the state's quiet corner. It will be the fourth time that the two Connecticut schools will face each other in the LEC finals.
At the 2:37 mark of the first stanza, Gentile buried an assist from Autumn Sorice (Bethel, CT) from the left side of the box. Gentile just entered the game as a substitute 49 second prior to her third goal of the season. The Colonials took a 2-0 lead into intermission.
With 18:25 remaining in the second half, Keene State senior midfielder Katie Silegy (Keene, NH) cut her team's deficit in half with her 12th marker of the season. She was set up in the middle of the box by Julia Pearson (Harwinton, CT). Silegy's blast was initially stopped by WestConn keeper Jillian Fernandez (Columbia, CT), but wiggled out of her grasp and crept over the goal line.
Fernandez made seven saves for the Colonials, none bigger than the one by Silegy three minutes after her goal. The visitor's shot was point-blank from 10 yards away and Fernandez was able to corral it in.
Shelby Offord (Shelton, CT) turned away three attempts on Thursday for the Owls.
LEC TOURNAMENT NOTES: WestConn and Keene State have made 17 appearances in the tournament in the 18 years it has existed since 1999. The Colonials have captured the crown a record nine times while the Owls have four titles. WestConn is a two-time defending league champion. Keene State won the previous two titles in 2013 and 2014. Eight of the Colonials nine championships came with current WestConn men's head coach Joe Mingachos at the helm. Current mentor Alex Harrison captured the title in his first year at the helm a year ago. Mingachos already has his WestConn men's side in the LEC Championship game. They take on Rhode Island College at the WAC on Saturday, November 4 at 2 pm.