Quinnipiac to face former rival Monmouth on Sunday

Juliana Nikac

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Photo: Samantha Bashaw

Coming off a 2-1 win against Big East opponent Georgetown in Washington D.C., the Quinnipiac Bobcats (2-5 overall, 1-0 BIG EAST) return home to Hamden, CT, where they will face off against the Monmouth Hawks (4-2 overall, 0-0 MAAC). The New Jersey outfit is coming off of two consecutive home wins against Lehigh and Brown, where they ripped off consecutive wins of 7-0 and 9-0. This battle between former MAAC rivals is sure to be one to watch.

Players to Watch

Quinnipiac – Lauren Belskie (Senior Defender)

Although she scored goals against Boston College and Georgetown and had two assists against rivals Yale, Lauren Belskie’s statistical production is not the reason she is one to watch. The Hillsborough, N.J. native is an absolute phenom at the back for Quinnipiac. She uses her tall frame to clean up in the back and instigate attacks from deep. Not only that, her ability to be a lethal threat on set plays is second to none in the Big East. But, most importantly, this Monmouth Hawks team is storming into the QU Turf and Field Hockey Complex having scored sixteen goals in their last two contests. Besides their matchup against #10 Virginia, the Monmouth offense will not have dealt with a defense as solid as Quinnipiac’s. If the Bobcats want to halt the Hawks from soaring to victory, Belskie has to lead the defense and be a rock for Quinnipiac.

Monmouth – Christen Piersanti (Senior Goalkeeper)

There are many star performers as of late to point out for Monmouth. Specifically, the Dutch pair has been immense for the Hawks. Sophomore Josephine Van der Hoop has five goals in her last two games to pair with her team-leading seven goals on the season. Not only that, senior Julie Laszlo has four goals and seven assists, showing off her ability to get forward and create in the offensive third as a defender. However, the player to watch in this matchup for Monmouth has to be senior goalkeeper Christen Piersanti. She has done next to nothing in her last two games, totaling three saves in both of those contests combined. Combining her lack of action and the fact that Monmouth have a seven-day break before they travel to Quinnipiac, Piersanti could be in for a rough night if she is tested early by Dayna Barlow and the Bobcat offense.

Keys to the Game

Quinnipiac – Score a goal early

The Monmouth offense isn’t the only part of their team that has been on another level as of late. To coincide with sixteen goals in two games, Monmouth has produced two shutouts. If Quinnipiac can find the back of the net and force the hand of the Monmouth offense, then they should be in a good position to grab their second home win in as many games.

Monmouth – Don’t let Quinnipiac keep possession

Against Yale, Quinnipiac was dominant. This was mostly due to Elisa Ruiz Martinez, who sat in the middle of the park and distributed the ball accordingly. Martinez is the lynchpin between the Quinnipiac defense and attack. If the Hawks can mark her out of the game or put substantial pressure on her, then they will be able to exploit the Bobcats on the counter attack. When the Bobcats cannot keep possession, they are not as lethal in attack. Monmouth needs to disturb passing lanes and make sure Quinnipiac doesn’t have time on the ball. Doing this will give themselves a great chance to pick up their fifth win of the season.

The Game

Be sure to tune in to QBSN’s live broadcast of Quinnipiac vs. Monmouth from the QU Field Hockey Turf Complex in Hamden. Jonathan Banks and Bryan Schwartz will be on the call for this matchup. To receive updates during the game, follow our @QBSN reporters on Twitter: @jonathanbanks8_@bryanschwartz15 and @tkro42.