Women’s soccer to begin MAAC Playoff Tournament Sunday

Juliana Nikac and Jake Ziegler

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Photo: Samantha Bousquet

Photo: Samantha Bousquet

Quinnipiac women’s soccer will embark on a trip to Lake Buena Vista, Florida at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for the MAAC Championship Tournament. The Bobcats clinched the No. 3 overall seed in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a 1-0 victory over the Canisius last Saturday when Redshirt sophomore Kylie Lance headed in her first goal of the season. This tally also the game-winner in this regular season finale against the Golden Griffins.

The Team

The Bobcats ended their season on a high note finishing with an overall record of 8-6-3, while posting an impressive 5-2-3 MAAC record. The Bobcats mostly played to their strength at home as they went 4-2-2 at the newly established Quinnipiac Soccer Stadium, and finishing roughly .500 on the road at 4-4-1.

The Bobcats’ season started well as they won three of their first four games by a combined score of 8-4 against out-of-conference opponents Holy Cross, Army West Point and Bryant. However, Quinnipiac would conclude non-conference play on a three-game losing streak against Miami, Dartmouth and Harvard. To the Bobcats fortune, this was their longest losing streak of the season, arriving during non-conference opponents. Despite this, head coach Dave Clarke in his 19th season aimed to turn things around as MAAC play began in their next game on the road against the St. Peter’s Peacocks.

Surely enough, an 11-0 rout for Quinnipiac over the Peacocks created a huge swing of momentum in their favor to start conference play. The tone of this MAAC opener was set when three goals were tallied for the Bobcats in the first 22 minutes of play. Also, junior forward Nadya Gill scored a hat trick in the second half alone. The momentum continued as Quinnipiac would put two of their next three conference games in the win column against Siena and Fairfield. The other contest in that three-game stretch wasn’t a loss, however, as they drew to Marist 1-1.

Similar to the beginning of their season, the Bobcats couldn’t tally a win in four of their next five games, losing to Monmouth, Iona and tying with Rider and Manhattan 1-1. In the middle of that five-game span, the Bobcats came up with a huge 4-0 statement win against the Niagara Purple Eagles, who they hadn’t defeated in their last three matchups. As mentioned, Quinnipiac ended their regular season with a huge 1-0 win over Canisius to obtain the No. 3 seed in the conference for postseason play. This 1-0 victory would be the fourth time the Bobcats were able to shutout a MAAC opponent, three of those four matchups taking place on the road.

As a team, Quinnipiac accumulated 36 goals on the season while allowing 24. The Bobcats on average scored 2.12 goals per game and only let up 1.41 goals per game. Quinnipiac has the advantage with shots on goal percentage with a 53.2 percent, while opposing teams recorded a 45.4 percent. The Bobcats were the third-most physical and dangerous team in the MAAC, as they accumulated 190 fouls, 22 yellow cards and one red card. As a result, Quinnipiac led the conference in six different statistical categories, including points (119), goals (36), goals per game (2.12), assists (47), assists per game (2.76) and yellow cards (22).

The Players

In addition, several Bobcat players achieved various accomplishments throughout the season on the field. Most recently, junior forward Al Pelletier was awarded MAAC Offensive Rookie of the Week on Oct. 16 for her three-goal performance. This was her first award of her three-year collegiate soccer career. Earlier on Oct. 2, redshirt freshman Kelsey Goldring was honored with her second MAAC Rookie of the Week award this season.

Meanwhile, with yet another excellent season by Gill, her contributions and performance has cemented her legacy into Quinnipiac soccer program history. The Toronto native accumulated 11 goals, nine assists, 37 shots and two game-winning goals throughout the season. Furthermore, she leads all MAAC players in five different statistical categories, such as shots (64), points (30), points per game (1.76), goals (11) and goals per game (0.65).

Other offensive contributors for the Bobcats include the aforementioned Pelletier with six goals, five assists and 18 shots and Goldring with five goals, seven assists, 15 shots and three game-winning goals. On the other hand, junior midfielder Madison Borowiec registered four goals, six assists and 16 shots and sophomore forward Ally Grunstein has four goals, three assists and nine shots.

Sophomore goalkeeper Olivia Myszewski also played exceptionally well this season as the starting netminder for the Bobcats. The Wisconsin native started and played in 16 games, racked 1,431:27 of playing time and allowed 21 goals, yielding a 1.32 goals-against average. On top of that, Myszewski posted an 8-5-3 overall record between the pipes, registering five shutouts and 75 saves.

The Tournament

The Bobcats will first play the winner of the No. 6 Rider Broncs vs. the No. 11 St. Peter’s Peacocks in the quarterfinal round on Sunday at 11 a.m. at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. While the Bobcats defeated St. Peter’s in an 11-goal explosion in the conference opener, they drew to the Broncs 1-1 at home. This single-elimination tournament features all 11 MAAC teams with the top five seeds earning a first-round bye.

Last season’s MAAC tournament ended in a heart-breaking 5-2 loss for Quinnipiac in the finals against the Monmouth Hawks, who are the No. 1 seed for the fifth consecutive season. So, Quinnipiac looks to avenge that loss as they head into Disney this weekend.

Link to tournament information: http://maacsports.com/tournaments/?id=1520