Senior Day Spoiler: Steuerwald leads Hawks to win


Photo: Alex Bayer

Noah Epstein

Hope Steuerwald’s five first-half goals led the Monmouth Hawks to a 12-10 win against the Quinnipiac Bobcats on Saturday afternoon, spoiling Senior Day in Hamden, Connecticut.

Before the game, the annual Senior Day ceremony took place where all the Quinnipiac seniors were honored for their careers. After a recognition toward Monmouth’s senior class, the home team’s seniors were all praised by the large crowd. The Bobcats seniors are Sydney Skalstad, Annie Morrison, Sophie Spencer, Maddie Deegan, Gabby Beckett, Lauren Hayes and Meng Meun Young. As it was the last game of the regular season and the Bobcats didn’t qualify for the MAAC tournament, this was the last time these seven players would be playing for the school.

The game started moments after the ceremony, and Steuerwald scored for the Hawks just 37 seconds in. She also scored Monmouth’s second goal to give the team a 2-1 lead and her third goal gave the Hawks a 5-2 lead with 8:55 left in the opening quarter. It was all Monmouth and Steuerwald was leading the way, already with a hat trick. It looked like the No. 2 seeded Monmouth team, coming off five straight wins, taking on the struggling No. 8 Quinnipiac team.

But the Bobcats pushed back. They fought all game long and were never out of it. 

After a few missed chances and great defensive stops, goals from first year Ellagrace Delmond and from Skalstad made it a one goal game with under three minutes to go in the first quarter. Junior Amy Nicoloff then attempted a free-position shot, one of four Quinnipiac free-position shots of the game, and she scored to tie the game with 17 seconds left in the quarter. 

Nicoloff’s second goal of the year made it three straight goals for the Bobcats, and it became four straight early in the second quarter when junior Sophia Iaccino found Skalstad near the net and scored to give Quinnipiac its first lead of the game, 6-5.

As soon as the Bobcats had the lead, Steuerwald brought her phenomenal first-quarter play into the second. She scored two straight goals within three minutes to help the Hawks retake the lead, making it a 7-6 game.

The two teams traded goals for the rest of the second quarter and the third quarter, but the Bobcats never tied the game back up. Every time the Hawks scored, the Bobcats had an answer, but the Hawks then had another answer to stay ahead. 

Through three quarters, the Hawks led 12-10. And that was the final score, as no goal was scored in the last 15 minutes. The Bobcats had several offensive opportunities, but came up empty each time as Monmouth’s defense put a stop to all Quinnipiac chances in the final quarter.

“They just did a really good job of shutting down our actual shot placement and we couldn’t find the back of the net,” Quinnipiac head coach Tanya Kotowicz said.

The Bobcats lost on Saturday in their last game of the season, but it’s a day the seniors will never forget. The group meant a lot to Kotowicz and to the university.

“Every year they came on board, they’ve helped us improve the program,” Kotowicz said. “Their record has gotten better every year… Progress is the goal, so I couldn’t be more grateful for help in this.”

The progress has shown itself throughout the season. Quinnipiac’s 6-10 record is its best since 2013 when the Bobcats went 7-9. Although they didn’t make the conference tournament, as only the top six teams make it, Kotowicz is excited about the younger players on the team going forward.

“It’s only gonna get better… and hopefully the seniors that have graduated come back to be able to feel some pride behind that.”