BRIDGEWATER, Mass. -- Second half goals by juniors Desarai Melendez (Brockton, Mass.) and Hannah Steen (Fall River, Mass.) lifted UMass Dartmouth to a 2-1 Little East Conference field hockey victory over Bridgewater State Wednesday afternoon at Swenson Field.
The visiting Corsairs, who improved to 7-8 overall and 5-5 in Little East play with the triumph, clinched a spot in the upcoming conference tournament by virtue of their win and Eastern Connecticut’s 4-0 home setback to Western Connecticut. UMass Dartmouth will make its third conference post-season trip under Head Coach Linee Mello-Frost’s tenure.
The host Bears (2-12, 2-8 LEC) grabbed a 1-0 advantage with 4:42 remaining in the opening half after junior Olivia Ahlman’s (Halifax, Mass.) unassisted goal, and that margin held up until late in the third stanza when Melendez converted a feed from sophomore Lydia Stormwind (Littleton, Mass.) on the equalizer for the Corsairs. Steen netted the game-winner 46 seconds into the fourth quarter when she took a pass from senior Hailey Boucher (Leicester, Mass.) for the visitors, who have won three straight for the first time in two years.
Junior Katelyn Banalewicz (Fall River, Mass.) earned her seventh win of the season by making 14 saves in goal for UMass Dartmouth, while senior Jillian Delaney (Foxboro, Mass.) recorded nine stops in the setback for Bridgewater State. The Bears outshot the Corsairs by a 21-14 margin overall (15-8 on goal), but the visitors held a 14-5 advantage in penalty corners for the contest.
UMass Dartmouth hosts Southern Maine in a Little East Conference clash on Saturday evening at Cressy Field beginning at 7:00 pm, while Bridgewater State travels to Danbury, Conn. on Saturday afternoon for a Little East outing with Western Connecticut that begins at Noon.