Culture Changers: Quinnipiac shuts out No. 24 Penn on senior day


Photo: Rob Rasmussen

Clever Streich

It was a senior day to remember for the Quinnipiac field hockey team, as they took down  the No. 24 Penn Quakers in a 2-0 shutout at home.  

For the first time in program history, the Bobcats have defeated and recorded shutouts in victories against multiple ranked opponents in the same season. Quinnipiac took down the No. 22 Maine Black Bears on the road in September, but winning in Hamden made senior day celebrations even sweeter.  

“I thought it was beautiful hockey, we played really well,” Quinnipiac head coach Becca Main said. “Playing six [ranked teams], we started by beating one in Maine, and we ended by beating one.” 

Before the game, the class of 2022’s eight seniors were honored on the 50-yard line with their families, receiving flowers and commemorative jersey plaques in a ceremony for a class that faced turmoil through a pandemic and roster rebuilding.  

“This class is special. I’ve had twenty eight teams, I put them in my top five, maybe top three, especially after today,” Main said. “They are a really special group, and we’re looking forward to celebrating them for the rest of the month.” 

The game started with both teams mirroring each other in scoring chances, as the Bobcats and Quakers entered halftime scoreless with a 6-6 tie in shot attempts, and both sides drawing one penalty corner each.  

A goalkeeper’s duel between first-year Bobcat Christina Torres and sophomore Quaker Frederique Wollaert was a highlight, with acrobatic saves from both sides to keep balls from the back of their cage. A fire was lit under Torres throughout the matinee, as she looked to control her game after a shaky stretch of play.   

“[Torres] really rose to the occasion, also her parents are here from Spain for the first time, so when you see that, sometimes that extra motivation is going to put you in a place where you get a shutout,” Main said. “She’s really rising to the occasion through a tough time of really being asked to re-evaluate. She did a good job today.” 

In the third quarter, the Bobcats finally converted a critical penalty corner to pull ahead. Stella Tegtmeier rifled a shot from the top of the scoring circle, bouncing off of Wollaert’s right pad. Eva Veldhorst collected the rebound and flicked the ball into the cage, giving Quinnipiac a 1-0 lead. 

“It hit a foot on the line, and I thought, ‘ok, I just need to play on.’” Veldhorst said.  “It was so easy. I just tapped it in and it was a goal.” 

The Bobcats came up big on both the offensive and defensive side of penalty corners. Quinnipiac was a perfect five for five on DPC efforts, showing that adjustments that were months in the making were paying off. 

“DPC’s are two things, they are speed, and the desire that nothing is getting through us,” Main said. “Once we got into the concept of ‘you have to go through all of us to get to us,’ that’s where you’re seeing the stepping.” 

The Bobcats would close the door on a Penn comeback late in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Emilia Massarelli scored her third goal of the season by deflecting a Tegtmeier shot attempt, giving the Bobcats a 2-0 lead, which they held onto until the final buzzer.  

But the shutout victory meant so much more for the Bobcats’ game winning goal scorer, who emotionally made the most of her senior day after being stuck overseas for her junior and sophomore seasons due to COVID-19 travel limitations. 

“I’m so happy to be back with all my classmates, I missed them so much over COVID.” Veldhorst said. “As a first-year, I thought I would eventually end up as a senior. After I went back [home], I thought ‘I’m never going to be in Hamden again.’ But after some conversations with Becca [Main], I thought ‘maybe it’s going to be real again,’ and when we came closer, I realized ‘ok, it’s going to happen, I will get a senior day just like the others did.’” 

Quinnipiac will look to continue closing out the careers of the culture changing class as it concludes conference play against Providence on Friday at 1 p.m. in Hamden.