Staying Alive in the MAAC: Bobcats sweep Purple Eagles

Connor Coar

After a 2-12 start to their season, the Quinnipiac Bobcats have won their last four of five games which include two consecutive in the MAAC conference. That streak was extended to three consecutive games with a clean sweep over the Niagara Purple Eagles Sunday afternoon at Burt Kahn Court. 

The first set for the Bobcats did not look like they had just come off a convincing win over Canisius the day prior with communication issues throughout the first half of the set. Those issues boiled over and head coach Kyle Robinson was forced to take a timeout which sent a very clear message to his team that would set the tone for the remainder of the game. 

“You can’t let an opponent come into your house and outwork you,” Robinson said. “You can’t let them outwork you and have more fun and be the life of the party. It’s insane.”

For the remainder of the first set, the Bobcats were jumping around and brought the house of pain to the Purple Eagles, winning the first set 25-22.

Niagara tried to crash the party early in the second after jumping out to an early 5-2 lead over Quinnipiac, but junior middle blocker Lexi Morse slammed the door shut on the Purple Eagles leading a ferocious 6-1 run, which forced them to take an early timeout. 

The timeout turned out to not benefit Niagara at all as Quinnipiac continued their dominant second set. That 6-1 run turned into a 16-4 run and led to another timeout taken by Niagara. 

It has been heavily documented that this Bobcats squad is a very talented, young team. During the emotional high of a landslide run, Robinson only had one thing on his mind for his athletes. 

“Don’t screw it up,” Robinson said. “We have so much talent in the gym… we sometimes make the game difficult and ugly for ourselves and we lose focus and that sharpness of how I know we can be.”

Quinnipiac showed no remorse for the remainder of the second set taking a two-set lead on Niagara 25-12. 

In what looked like smooth sailing into the third set, the Purple Eagles weren’t going to fold to the Bobcats just because they were already down by two sets, which is exactly what Robinson expected. 

“The mentality of the program [Niagara] since I’ve known it is hard, blue-collar, grinding things out type of team,” Robinson said. “Those types of teams are very dangerous.”

The score stayed between one to two points for the majority of the third set, but after three straight kills from senior outside hitter, Aryannah Diaz put and kept the game out of reach for the Purple Eagles. Quinnipiac sealed the third and final set with a 25-18 win.

The Bobcats have currently won five out of their last six games, it is very easy for a young core to get caught up in the high of winning, but Robinson has made sure to talk and communicate their larger goals with the team. 

“There are no secrets in our program,” Robinson said. “We celebrate the highs, but spend more time dissecting the lows and how we can be better and getting them to understand why we need to be better.”

This team has the potential to go the distance in the MAAC tournament, but it will take a herculean effort as they look to this upcoming weekend as they take on top-seeded Fairfield on Saturday back in the Burt Kahn Court.