Bobcats Soar over Niagara Purple Eagles on Senior Day, 4-0

Emma Robertson

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Photo: Liz Flynn

Photo: Liz Flynn

Senior Day and Parents Weekend for Quinnipiac women’s soccer (7-6-2, 4-2-2 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) featured the visiting Niagara Purple Eagles (6-7-2, 2-5-1 MAAC), on a cloudy, windy day in Hamden. Bobcat seniors Laura Nicholas, Sarah Pandolfi, Emma Greco and Carly Glaser were honored and recognized prior to kickoff. Although Niagara has defeated the Bobcats by a combined score of 7-0 in recent matchups, today’s contest was drastically different. The Purple Eagles haven’t won any of their last four matches. They came into today’s game losing three consecutive games to Fairfield, Canisius and Siena, and drawing to Rider 1-1. Meanwhile, the Bobcats most recently came off a 2-1 loss to the Iona Gaels on Wednesday. They’re also struggling to get in the win column, with two losses against Iona and Monmouth along with two draws against Marist and Rider.

 

The emotions and excitement of Senior Day carried onto the field early in the first half. Despite that, Niagara goalkeeper Sabrina Locas made two acrobatic diving stops against Quinnipiac’s Lauren Triglione and Glaser to close the door on an early Bobcat goal. The offensive pressure would pay off though as Niagara’s defense committed an ill-advised turnover. Consequently, Glaser took full advantage when she picked up the loose change and buried the game’s first goal ten minutes into the opening half.

 

Glaser was exceptionally happy to score a goal in front of her friends and family on Senior Day.

 

“It was an amazing feeling to score so early,” Glaser said. “It was great to see how our team came out today and [did] their job.”

 

The momentum made a significant shift toward the Purple Eagles just 60 seconds after Glaser’s goal when junior Katrina Friedman was issued a red card (ejection) for handling the ball inside the Bobcat penalty area. A Quinnipiac defensive breakdown turned into a solid scoring chance for the Purple Eagles, and although sophomore goalkeeper Olivia Myszewski was in the vicinity to make the save, the official claimed that Friedman denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity. As a result, a penalty kick was awarded for Niagara. However, senior Eva Bachmann drilled the left post and the ball stayed out of the net. In addition, due to the ejection, the Bobcats would have to play shorthanded (10 on 11) for the remainder of the game.

 

Head coach Dave Clarke reflected on this crucial incident and the official’s explanation.

 

“The referee told me that if Katrina made a hand ball in front the keeper, it would’ve been a yellow card,” Clarke said. “But since she touched it behind Olivia, it became a red card.”

 

Playing shorthanded did not phase the Bobcats as they were able to tally two more goals in the first half. Nadya Gill, team-leader in goals, assists, shots and points, assisted junior Al Pelletier, who rifled a shot over the head of Locas to give Quinnipiac an insurance goal. Almost seven minutes later, the Bobcats would extend their lead as Gill streaked down the field and forced a foul inside Niagara’s own penalty area, resulting in the half’s second penalty kick. The MAAC point leader would make no mistake, and Gill contributed to a 3-0 Bobcat lead at halftime.

 

Clarke thought that his squad played exceptionally well despite being shorthanded for the majority of the contest.

 

“We responded well after going down to 10 men, especially after scoring three goals,” Clarke said.

 

Just forty-two seconds into the second half, Quinnipiac would pour on a fourth goal as Pelletier registered her second goal of the game, assisted by Gill for her third point of the afternoon. The Bobcats made a dent in Niagara’s season. Four goals is now the most Niagara has allowed in any game all season.

 

Pelletier believes this game proved something not only for themselves, but for the rest of the conference.

 

“Today was the major comeback,” Pelletier said. “We were able to show everyone what type of team we really are.”

 

Clarke was very satisfied with today’s game, and couldn’t have asked for anything more from his team.

 

“This game was easily our best performance of the season,” Clarke said. “I often tell them I expect perfection, and we pretty much got it today.”

 

Women’s soccer looks ahead to their final two MAAC regular season games, beginning with a matchup against the Manhattan Jaspers this Wednesday at 3 p.m. at the Quinnipiac Soccer Stadium.