Quinnipiac women’s lacrosse falls to Niagara in nail-biting conference home opener


Photo: Alex Bayer

Ethan Hurwitz

Quinnipiac’s first MAAC home game of 2022 was spoiled by the visiting Niagara Purple Eagles, as the Bobcats fell 9-8 on Saturday. Niagara was catapulted by junior attacker Lois Garlow, who had four goals, including both the tying and winning goals.

The first quarter came and went in a blur. The Purple Eagles came out with a stifling defensive strategy and after 15 minutes, led 2-0. 

Quinnipiac struggled out of the gate and junior goalkeeper Kat Henselder was not her usual self. The Bobcats defense allowed four first-half goals that forced them to try and climb out of an early hole.

Quinnipiac head coach Tanya Kotowicz stressed how important her team’s resiliency was after starting the game slow.

“It’s not over until the last whistle,” Kotowicz said. “This team fights.”

After 30 minutes, Quinnipiac fought back to make it a 4-3 game after goals from senior midfielders Maddie Deegan and Sophie Spencer.

The second half continued just as the first had, with low scoring and elite goaltending. Senior goaltender Michelle Messenger had a fantastic day for the Purple Eagles, but struggled in the third and fourth quarters, having to see multiple free-position shots.

With just over 12 minutes remaining in regulation, the Bobcats took their first lead of the afternoon, as Deegan scored on a free-position goal.

Free-position goals were often called late and had the Bobcats bench visibly upset in the closing minutes.

“We try not to focus on the officials, but it’s the year of the official,” Kotowicz said. “We have three opponents this year.”

The highlight for Quinnipiac today was junior attacker Desiree Kleberg, who scored goals 18 and 19 on the season, leading the team in that category.

With the loss, Quinnipiac fell to 5-5 and suffered their first conference loss on the season. The Purple Eagles continued their hot start within the MAAC, winning their third straight. 

The Bobcats will stay in Hamden and square off against Fairfield on Wednesday, April 6 at 3 p.m.