Bryant wins overtime thriller versus Quinnipiac

Gabriel Kukulka

The Quinnipiac women’s lacrosse team battled against Bryant in a game that had to be settled in overtime on Saturday afternoon. 

The MAAC versus American East out-of-conference matchup ended 13-12 in favor of the Bulldogs and at one point in the game, Quinnipiac found themselves down 7-2. The Bobcats fought back and sent a 12-12 game into overtime. Bryant’s Kenna Kaut was the overtime hero as she scored 41 seconds into the overtime period.

“We got better,” said Quinnipiac head coach Tanya Kotowicz after the game. “It’s obviously bittersweet when you lose such a tight game, but I think the lacrosse that was played in the 60 minutes was a pretty good next step for us, and so we are going to carry that.”

The two teams played in Rhode Island last season, a game that Bryant won 19-12. Both teams came into today’s matchup with a 2-2 record, giving them both a chance to go above .500 with a win.

Quinnipiac got off to a fast start, with Sophie Spencer beating Bryant goalie Sam Centofante to put the Bobcats up 1-0 after just 26 seconds. Bryant was unphased after they conceded an early goal to which they responded by scoring two goals in the two minutes following Spencer’s opening goal. Emily Oliver scored to tie the game and Skylar Simmonds scored to give the Bulldogs a 2-1 lead at 12:35. 

Oliver and Simmonds continued to dominate the game in the first quarter, with Oliver scoring four goals and Simmonds scoring three to end the quarter with a 7-2 lead over Quinnipiac.

Centofante made six saves in the first quarter for Bryant, while the Quinnipiac defense struggled. Henselder failed to record a single save in the first quarter, leading second-string goalie Lindsay Mazzucco to come on for Quinnipiac at the start of the second quarter.

“We have a strong goalkeeping team,” Kotowicz said. “When one might be struggling, the next one will step up. I think that’s exactly what they did today.”

Bryant continued to score at the start of the second quarter as Bell Chamberlaine scored just over a minute in to give her side an 8-2 lead. Amy Nicoloff then scored for Quinnipiac at 12:14 to end the Bulldog’s five-goal streak.

The Bobcats started to find rhythm towards the end of the half, which included a goal by Maddie Deegan and a goal from Nicoloff, her second of the quarter. Nicoloff scored by diving to the ground right in front of the net to wrap the ball around Centofante and find the left side of the goal. 

At halftime, the score was 9-6 in favor of Bryant. Despite the goalie change for Quinnipiac, they still failed to make a single save in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, Quinnipiac put Henselder back in and started to pick up momentum off of goals by Deegan and Mia Delmond. Delmond spun around a Bryant defender to cut the Bryant lead to two, a score of 10-8. Despite their defensive problems, Quinnipiac found themselves within three goals, an 11-8 scoreline at the end of the third quarter. 

In the fourth quarter, both Delmond and Sophia Iaccino found the back of the net in the first five minutes to get Quinnipiac within one goal of the Bulldogs.

It was Desiree Kleberg who would ultimately find the game-tying goal for the Bobcats. Kleberg cut around Bryant’s defender Kelly Ford but was fouled on the play. Kleberg earned the free position shot and scored it to tie the game at 11.

Bryant then regained the lead at 2:25 off a free-position goal from Kaut. Coming into the game, Kaut led the Bulldogs in scoring with 22 goals in four games. The Bobcats kept her off the scoresheet for a while, but in the fourth quarter, she was able to find a way past the Quinnipiac defense for the first time.

Quinnipiac got possession of the ball with just over a minute remaining in the game before they called a timeout with 47 seconds to go. The Bobcats needed a goal to send the game to overtime, and it was Nicoloff who received a pass from Abby Wise to tie the game for Quinnipiac and send the game to overtime. Despite never holding a lead since the opening minutes of the game, the Bobcats had a chance to win in overtime.

“We went back to trust your instincts, trust our preparation,”  Kotowicz said about the second-half performance of her team. “We changed up a few people in the lineup and that got us back on track, but playing catch up.”

Nicoloff’s goal sent the game to sudden death overtime, and the Bulldogs won the draw control to start the three-minute overtime period. At 2:19 of the overtime period it was the America East goal-scoring leader Kaut who found the winner for the Bulldogs. The Bobcats never got possession in overtime, and the Bulldogs came away with a 13-12 victory. 

Quinnipiac will be back in action on Wednesday when they travel to Worcester to take on Holy Cross.