Women’s lacrosse closing in on playoff spot
After three straight one-goal games, the Quinnipiac women’s lacrosse team was able to enjoy Senior Day against Central Connecticut Sunday afternoon.
The Bobcats scored five goals in the first nine minutes and doubled up the Blue Devils, 14-7, to move one step closer to securing a spot in the four-team NEC postseason tournament. Quinnipiac (6-5, 5-1 NEC) can qualify with a win Thursday at Long Island.
Central, which has never defeated Quinnipiac in women’s lacrosse, had pulled to within three goals with 15:45 left in the second half. But the Bobcats got a goal at 12:28 and three goals in the final 3:33 to pick up its fifth win in the last six games.
“We’re still at that stage where we don’t know really how to play when we’re up,” Quinnipiac head coach Danie Caro said. “We’re really good at playing when we’re down and coming back, so this was a good opportunity for us to be able to get a lead early and work on protecting it.”
Playing with the lead proved to be a problem Friday in a 12-11 loss to Monmouth. Both teams entered the game unbeaten in NEC play and a win would’ve put Quinnipiac in a great position to not only finish first in the conference, but perhaps go unbeaten.
A week earlier, the Bobcats had knocked off the NEC preseason favorite, Mount St. Mary’s, 12-11 in overtime. Monmouth was predicted to finish second in the conference, while Quinnipiac was tabbed for third.
The Bobcats had an 11-8 lead over Monmouth with nine minutes remaining in the second half when freshman Tiffany Manzi scored her second goal of the afternoon. The lead disappeared as the Hawks scored four unanswered goals, three of which were scored by Megan Nutter, who tallied the game-winner with 3:27 left.
Last season, Quinnipiac lost in the semifinal game of the NEC tournament to Monmouth, and there’s a strong possibility the two teams will meet again this year.
“It’s hard to beat the same team twice, especially when you only beat them by a small margin, so I’m excited to see them in the NEC’s,” Quinnipiac senior Danielle Mormile said.
Caro, who is in her first year at Quinnipiac, said the game showed that the Bobcats can compete with every team in the conference.
“The kids still have their focus on the overall goal, which is to win the NEC championship, and we’re still in a good position to do that,” Caro said.
The Bobcats three top goal scorers are seniors, with Mormile leading them with 22 goals. But a couple freshmen have made an immediate impact on the scoreboard for Quinnipiac.
Tiffany Manzi has 16 goals including two overtime game-winners that led to her being named NEC Rookie of the Week April 4. The day before, she became the first NEC player this season to be named to the national weekly honor roll by Womenslacrosse.com.
Another freshman, Nicole Fiore, found her offensive game last weekend. She had her first career multi-goal game against Monmouth and then recorded her first career hat trick two days later against Central.
“You need (scoring) to come from all over the place so the defenses that we come across don’t know where to expect it from,” Mormile said.
After the game Thursday at Long Island, the Bobcats play their final home game Monday against non-conference opponent Cal-Davis. Their last regular season NEC game is next Friday at Sacred Heart.