Quinnipiac shutout by #8 UConn in second consecutive meeting


Photo: QBSN

Clever Streich

On Friday afternoon, the #8 UConn Huskies (6-1, 5-1 BIG EAST) defeated the Quinnipiac Bobcats ( 2-4, 2-4 BIG EAST) by a score of 7-0. It is the second time this season that Quinnipiac’s field hockey team has been held scoreless against their fellow Connecticut opponent, as the Huskies blanked the Bobcats 6-0 back on March 18 in a similar manner.

“We had some growth from the first game of playing [UConn] to the second game in terms of attacking, so we did give up on some of our defensive set up,” coach Becca Main said. “UConn is always one of the most skilled, if not one of the top three teams in the country. We saw that today.”

The Huskies put on another offensive clinic in Hamden, as they led 12-1 in shots on goal, and drew seven penalty corners to claim their 18th all-time victory over Quinnipiac, dating back to 1998.

In the first quarter, the Huskies got out to a fast start thanks to a tally from UConn’s leading scorer and BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week Sophie Hamilton, who recorded her ninth goal of the season by beating rookie netminder Nina Santore. However, Quinnipiac was able to play strong defense early, holding UConn to only two shots on goal at the quarter’s end.

“We saw our shape definitely improve.” junior midfielder Makayla Adams said. “I know the first time we played them, we had about 13 DPC’s and in this game, we only recorded seven. Our structure and shape for our DPC’s helped out a lot.”

Despite the improved defensive effort, UConn’s elite scoring found a way to break through and overtake the matchup in the second quarter.

Claire Van den Noort found her scoring touch for the first time in 2021, as she tallied her first two goals of the season for UConn in under a minute to push the Huskies’ lead to 3-0.

The Huskies would continue to run up the score with Claire Jandewith and Claire Van den Noort potting additional goals to expand UConn’s lead to 5-0 at halftime.

Unfortunately for the Bobcats, the second half saw more of the same type of commanding performance from UConn, as the Huskies continued to dictate the pace of the game by controlling most of the ball possession, causing QU to struggle while mounting offense.

By the end of regulation, UConn closed the game out with a 7-0 victory, with goals coming off the sticks of Claire Van den Noort and McKenna Sergi to seal the win for the Huskies.

Quinnipiac’s first-year goaltender and the BIG EAST Rookie of the Week Nina Santore made four saves on twenty-two shot attempts faced, continuing her development as a Division 1 starter.

“She’s a great goalkeeper. [Santore]’s already well above her age in what she’s learning,” Main said. “She really is a high-caliber player, and we’re really fortunate to have her in the cage. Our right up the middle is really important for us on this team, and [Santore] starts that.”

Despite the loss, morale remains high within the Quinnipiac field hockey squad amidst the shortened 2021 BIG EAST season.

“As a team, we’ve all bought in.” sophomore Olivia Howard said. “It’s working for it, and it’s putting the pieces together to break out and get what we’re looking for.”

Quinnipiac will look to get back on track when it hits the road to face UConn again this Sunday, with game time set for noon.