Women’s Soccer Drops Home Opener Against Seton Hall, 1-0

Jake Ziegler

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Photo: Liz Flynn

On one of the hottest days ever recorded in Hamden, the Quinnipiac women’s soccer team (1-3, 0-0 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) opened up their home schedule against the Seton Hall Pirates (2-2-1, 0-0 Big East). The Bobcats came into this contest fresh off a 2-0 loss to Dartmouth on Friday, while also coming up short in two of their three opening games to start the campaign. The Bobcats began the season with a 4-2 defeat to Boston College, but bounced back to get their first and only victory of the season so far against the Bryant Bulldogs, 3-0.

Meanwhile, the Pirates arrived in Hamden riding a narrow 1-0 loss to Stony Brook on Sunday, scoring only one goal on the season in their lone 1-0 win against Loyola. Despite it being the early stages of their respective seasons, both of these teams aimed to not only put another win in the ‘W’ column, but to tally multiple goals on the scoreboard in a victorious fashion.

The Bobcats started off strong and dominated possession while putting Seton Hall under pressure for the first 20 minutes. Senior forward Al Pelletier pulled off a fancy between-the-legs move just three minutes after kickoff and managed to get a cross off while surrounded by multiple Pirates, but no Bobcat was in sight at the back door.

Soon following that chance, junior forward Ally Grunstein would have the best scoring opportunity of the whole match for the Bobcats. After receiving a perfect pass by a teammate, the Warren, NJ native snuck behind the Seton Hall back line for a one-on-one breakaway, yet senior Pirate goalie Anna MacLean stood on her head by sliding hands first and coming off her line to make the timely, aggressive save. This, along with many other saves by both MacLean and Quinnipiac goalkeeper Olivia Myszewski, kept the match scoreless at halftime.

Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke was pleased with his squad’s start in the first half.

“We started strong in the first 20 minutes; we really put the pressure on them,” Clarke said.

However, Clarke wasn’t pleased when his players “took our foot off the gas and let them back into the game” down the stretch. “We gave up a lot of territory in that second 20 minutes,” Clark said.

In the beginning stages of the second half, both teams traded scoring chances. A particular Quinnipiac chance came 12 minutes into the second half from the foot of junior defender Mackenzie Tibball off a free kick. Her high strike forced MacLean to leap and punch the ball as it partially made contact with the crossbar and sailed over. About 15 minutes later, MacLean came up clutch for her team again as she made another great diving save off a Bobcat field-switching cross. Considering the amount of Bobcat attackers and what would’ve been a wide-open goal, this stop proved to be critical.

After that save, the momentum immediately shifted in the Pirates’ favor as they finally drew first blood with 17:23 remaining in regulation. A Seton Hall corner kick by senior midfielder Lauren Garcia had enough power to creep over Mysewski’s head, deflect off a Bobcat defender just a few feet from the goal line, and bounced in the Pirates’ favor into the back of the cage. Garcia got credit for her first assist of the season (even though it actually counted as a goal), which would ultimately become the game-winning tally for Seton Hall.

Clarke said that the first goal scored in many of his team’s recent games have significantly mattered.

“A lot of our games in the preseason and now in the regular season have been 1-0, 1-0, 1-0… we can’t waste our chances we had in the first 20 minutes,” Clarke said. “It’s definitely a different game if we’re up one goal and we force them to chase, especially late in the game.”

Despite not scoring many goals to begin the season, Clarke isn’t too worried.

“If we weren’t creating scoring chances, then I’d be worried,” Clarke said. “We just need to start take advantage of those chances when they come.”

Women’s soccer continues their home stand as they welcome the Harvard Crimson with a 1 p.m. kickoff this Sunday.