Quinnipiac Women’s Soccer Eliminated by Fairfield

Photos%3A+Sam+Bosquet
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Quinnipiac Women’s Soccer Eliminated by Fairfield

Photos: Sam Bosquet

Photos: Sam Bosquet

Photos: Sam Bosquet

Photos: Sam Bosquet

Riley Millette

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The MAAC tournament is something not unfamiliar to the Quinnipiac Bobcats women’s soccer team. Also familiar to the Bobcats are the Fairfield Stags, who the Bobcats had beaten in their last four meetings.

However, this is a different team than they remember. Even after the Bobcats handily defeated the Stags by a score of 3-0 on Sept. 22 of this year, the Stags put together their first winning season since 2014 en route to securing the second seed.

The history between the two teams, coupled with the Stags’ resurgence, set the stage for an epic clash in the semifinal of the MAAC tournament. This time, the Stags flipped the script, taking down the Bobcats 1-0 to advance in the playoffs, and ending the Bobcats’ season.

The first half had few exciting moments, as both sides combined to register just three shots on goal. Rain fell steadily before and during the game, creating a very slippery and unpredictable grass playing surface, as opposed to Quinnipiac’s usual turf field.

Freshman Bobcat goalkeeper Meaghan Phillips came up big for her team, punching away a cross into the box in the 33rd minute. The threat ended shortly thereafter, concluding the uneventful half.

The first big chance for the Bobcats came to senior defender Kylie Lance in the 53rd minute. After a corner kick was deflected out of the box and fell her way, she cleared her space, took a touch to set her feet, and let it rip.

The clang of the crossbar echoed for miles.

The Bobcats settled into a defensive rut following the heartbreaking woodwork hit, as many long balls down the wing failed to find the foot of a Quinnipiac attacker.

Little else happened until Fairfield junior midfielder Gabby Diodati took the reins. After taking in a pass at the top of the box, Diodati spun around two Quinnipiac defenders with style and beat Phillips, flying it past her extended arms and putting it into the back of the net.

After Diodati’s goal in the 78th minute, the pressure was on for Quinnipiac to score quickly. The Bobcats did everything they could to bring it even, as there were three chances that could have brought the game into extra time.

Sophomore forward Gretchen Kron, junior midfielder Hannah Reiter, and senior forward Ally Grunstein all had their opportunities, but just couldn’t finish their chances. Though these three were undoubtedly Quinnipiac’s best looks of the day, it just wasn’t enough to pull out a victory.

The Bobcats will lose a hefty senior class. Graduating from the team this year are Lance, Grunstein, forward Estefy Estrada Zavala, defender Mackenzie Tibball, forward Jenn Maldonado, and goalkeepers Olivia Myszewski and Charlotte Edmunds.

“Overall, when you look at that class, they’ve been to a final, two semifinals and a quarterfinal, so over four years that’s tremendous,” head coach Dave Clarke said. 

Clarke expressed his confidence in the team moving forward, as getting a young team this tournament experience is crucial.

“It was important all year to get this freshman and sophomore class here, so they’ve got to use that to drive them on for next year,” Clarke said.

The No. 2 Stags will travel to Monmouth to take on the mighty No. 1 Hawks on Nov. 10 in the MAAC tournament final.