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Women’s soccer ends on high note
The falling of the leaves marks another end to autumn sports, one that was filled with many ups and downs for the women’s soccer team.
The Bobcats finished the season with five wins, 10 losses, and two ties. The women’s soccer team was able to compile a 5-3 record at home, and it improved its win total from the previous year. The Bobcats went 4-3-2 in NEC conference play, finishing a strong fifth, one spot ahead of where they were projected to finish in the preseason coaches’ polls. They came up just short of advancing to the NEC playoffs as they lost two crucial games to Sacred Heart and Central Connecticut State.
Quinnipiac had excellent performances by many of its players throughout the season. Senior Elisa Goncalves finished the season with four goals and two assists and passed the one-hundred career points total. She became the first women’s player to score all of her career points playing exclusively in Division 1. Goncalves’ career achievements also included winning NEC Rookie of the Year Award in her freshman year and Quinnipiac University Female Athlete of the Year in her sophomore year. Goncalves finished her career scoring 47 goals. This season, Goncalves was named to the All-Northeast Conference second team.
Senior Meghan Kennedy, of West Hartford, Conn., finished her career with the Bobcats by netting three goals. Kennedy also led the team in minutes played this season. Her only assist set up Quinnipiac’s 1-0 win against Long Island late in the season.
Senior Melissa Ganias, of Wallingford, Conn., led the team in assists with three. Ganias bounced back from a season ending injury last year, and was one of the key pieces to the Bobcats improvement this season.
Juniors Jamie Ahearn, of North Brookfield, Mass. and Kellie Buccini, of Waterbury, Conn., joined sophomore Cristina Slamone, of Northford, Conn., to finish third in team scoring, each of whom scored two goals.
Freshman goalie Heather Zaccone, of Montclair, New Jersey, had an impressive rookie season, earning NEC Rookie of the Week honors for the week ending October 13. In the five wins posted by the Bobcats, Zaccone held opponents to just one goal, registering four shutouts. She finished the season with 68 saves and amassed a .680 shot-blocked percentage in over 1,250 minutes playing in goal.
What lies ahead for the women’s soccer team? The Bobcats have to find replacements for the six seniors. This years graduating class accounted for almost half of the team’s offensive firepower, netting nine of the 19 goals scored and 28 of the 47 points accumulated by the Bobcats.
The team next season will have six seniors, seven juniors, nine sophomores, and will have at least six freshmen recruits to fill the void left by the departing seniors.
Whether through recruiting some of the area’s top high school players or through strong play from its returning players, the women’s soccer team should continue to improve on its strong play from this season. The Bobcats will look to return to the success of 2000 when the then nicknamed Braves, made Quinnipiac history becoming the first sports team to reach the NCAA tournament.