DANBURY, Conn. – The Castleton University women's soccer succumbed to the four-time defending Little East Conference (LEC) champion Western Connecticut State on Thursday in the LEC Semifinals, 3-1.
Loren Henderson made a career-high 18 saves and Makenzi Bellando scored her seventh goal of the year for the Spartans, who finish the season 10-10-0 after winning the program's first LEC postseason game in a 4-2 victory at Keene State on Tuesday.
The second-seeded Colonials await the victor of the No. 1 UMass Boston versus No. 4 Eastern Connecticut State for a Saturday date in the LEC Finals.
Kaleigh Panek scored the game-winning goal for the Colonials in the 69th minute, which broke a 1-1 tie. She tapped in a rebound after Henderson handled the initial strike by Myah Croze.
It was all WestConn early as the Colonials produced four shot attempts and three corner kicks before breaking through at the 12:43 mark to snag a 1-0 lead. Skylar Jorge scored the goal, her first of the year, with a feed from Panek.
Bellando put the Spartans on the board just before the 31-minute mark when she raced down the left side and crossed up the first defender before pushing past two more and placing a strike across the goal and inside the right post.
After a quiet end to the opening 45, Julia Carone nearly put the Spartans up nine minutes into the second half, but her shot rang off the crossbar.
WestConn continued to apply pressure throughout the mid-stages of the second half before netting its second goal at 68:11.
Croze drove home a penalty kick attempt in the 79th minute to help seal the victory. She also finished the contest with a game-high 13 shots as the Colonials finished with a 36-13 edge in total shots.
Colonial goalkeeper Karly Martin turned aside six shots to earn her 15th win of the season.