GORHAM, Maine – Freshman Samantha Ellis (New Vineyard, Maine/Mt. Blue) knocked in the game-winning goal with just minutes remaining in regulation to deliver a 2-1 win for the University of Southern Maine Huskies over the Manhattanville College Valiants in a non-conference field hockey game Sunday afternoon at Hannaford Field.
Securing their third consecutive win, the Huskies are now 3-1 overall after dropping their season-opening game. The Valiants drop to 1-3 with the loss. Both teams entered today's game having played yesterday.
Despite outshooting the Valiants 9-1 in the opening half, Southern Maine and Manhattanville were locked in a scoreless draw to open the second half. Southern Maine senior Dorina Sirois (Saco, Maine/Thornton Academy) broke through for the first goal of the game in the 42nd minute. After having her initial shot turned back by Manhattanville goalkeeper sophomore Elaina Nacinovich (Carmel, N.Y.), Sirois was able to get her stick on the rebound for a 1-0 USM lead.
The Huskies maintained their one-goal margin until late in the game before the Valiants rallied to tie the score in the 56th minute. Sophomore Lexi Crites (Middleboro, Mass./Kents Hill) knocked in the game-tying goal cleaning up a loose ball in the circle.
With the score tied at 1-1 and the clock winding down, an overtime contest loomed. However, Ellis tallied the third intercollegiate goal of her career, and first career-game winner in the 67th minute. Senior Brooke Dugan (Thomaston, Maine/Oceanside) set up the game-winner, carrying the ball into the circle and feeding Ellis who redirected the ball to give her team the lead.
Southern Maine finished the game with a 14-6 lead in shots and a 12-6 advantage in penalty corners. Nacinovich made five saves for the Valiants in the loss. Southern Maine freshman Lindsay Pych (West Milford, N.J./Morristown-Beard) made one save in the start, playing 55:59. Sophomore McKenzie Cormier (Hiram, Maine/Sacopee Valley) earned the win, making one save in 14:01 of action.
Southern Maine returns to action on Saturday (3:00 p.m.) against Little East Conference opponent Eastern Connecticut.