Manhattanville Outlasts Eastern in Freedom Opener Thriller

PURCHASE, N.Y. Junior Casandra Honovich (Cortlandt Manor, N.Y./Walter Panas) led all players with six goals and freshman netminder Caitlin Sosa (Monroe, N.Y./Monroe-Woodbury) came up with 12 saves as Manhattanville got its Freedom Conference schedule off to a good start with a thrilling 15-14 victory over Eastern on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon at Field.

There were plenty of key players on the day for Manhattanville (2-9, 1-0 Freedom), but one of if not the biggest was Sosa in goal, as the freshman turned aside a season-best 12 shots to secure her first career victory. She made seven saves in the first half to keep her team in the game, then made five saves including four on free-position attempts as the Valiants came back in the second stanza.

Honovich had another good game offensively for Manhattanville, tying her season-high with six goals, and she was complemented as usual by senior Melissa Goncalves (Holtsville, N.Y./Sachem East) with four tallies and five draw controls. With her four goals, Goncalves also became just the fifth player in program history to reach the 200-point plateau, the first since Abbe Grimes '09 (2006-09).

But it was more than the top-two that allowed the Valiants to emerge victorious on Wednesday. Sophomore Mallory Bakst (Morganville, N.J./Marlboro) had her best offensive game of the year with three goals, an assist and four draw controls, while senior Maggie Howley (Philadelphia, Pa./Cardinal Dougherty) was all over the field with three assists, three caused turnovers and a career-high eight ground balls. The Valiant defensive unit seniors Alex Pomato (Niskayuna, N.Y./Niskayuna) and Kelly Murray (Shrub Oak, N.Y./Lakeland), and sophomores Kelli-Ann Paterwic (West Springfield, Mass./Cathedral) and Carly Brunco (Johnstown, N.Y./Johnstown) also played very well when needed most, holding firm in the second half to allow for a comeback.

Julia Furniss led Eastern (0-10, 0-2 Freedom) with three goals and an assist for four points, while Angalena Malavenda and Victoria Graham also scored three times apiece for the visitors.

The game did not start off well for the home team, as Eastern got goals from five different players to open up a 5-1 lead 11:31 into the first half. Honovich scored twice in a row to get the Valiants back within two, but the team spent most of the first half attempting to catch up, as the Eagles countered every Manhattanville score with one of their own.

Bakst scored her second of the game with less than a minute remaining to make the score 9-7 in favor of Eastern, and that is where the game stood after 30 minutes. The Eagles held a slight 18-14 edge in shots at the intermission.

The teams started the second half with five scoreless minutes of action before Graham scored her third of the game to put Eastern back up by a 10-7 score 5:04 into the half. But the Valiants responded to that with their best stretch of the afternoon, scoring five straight goals to open up their first lead of the day at 12-10. Honovich started with a man-down tally with 19:48 left, followed by Goncalves with two goals in 14 seconds to knot the score. The pair both scored once more to end the run, with Goncalves netting a man-down goal of her own to give her team the two-goal edge with 13:08 left.

Blaylock stopped the Manhattanville run with a man-up tally to get her team back within one, but the Valiants came right back with two huge man-down goals to regain control, as Honovich scored 31 seconds after Blaylock and Bakst converted from the eight-meter line with 11:31 left.

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