Ahearn’s defense fueling women’s soccer team

By on October 10, 2006

It should be no surprise that the success of the Quinnipiac women’s soccer team has run parallel with the emergence of Kate Ahearn.

After enduring a tough setback entailing all of the pitfalls that develop when an athlete is deprived of the sport she loves, Ahearn has worked her way back into player-to-watch form.

The blossoming junior from Danbury has come into her element this season. Starting in all 11 of the Bobcats’ games, the pitch-savvy Ahearn has tallied two crucial goals and registered an assist on Susan Donovan’s game-tying goal in Quinnipiac’s 1-1 deadlock at St. Francis (Pa.), which took place at the beginning of the month.

Ahearn has shouldered the burden of leader and provided late-game heroics for a young Bobcat team that features go-to scorers Donovan and Amber Sidoti. The two form a dangerous pair of freshmen who have established themselves as promising young players and the gems of the 2006 recruiting class.

The team’s philosophy has been to get the ball to Ahearn during the game’s critical transitions and let her go to work. This is a quintessential theme for the Bobcats, who have jumped out to an 8-2-2 overall record and a 2-0-2 NEC record this year.

The rangy defender came through with a clutch goal in the game’s final 30 seconds against St. Peter’s on Sept. 7. Ahearn knocked the ball past Andrea Kovalcik’s ove-stretched arms via teammate Brittany Lockwood’s free kick into box.

Ahearn also delivered the game-winner in the Bobcats’ 1-0 victory over in-conference foe Robert Morris on Sept. 29. Ahearn took a short cross from another budding junior, Kate Lissfelt, and found the back of an open net.

She was honored by the league shortly afterward, becoming the third Bobcat to garner NEC Player of the Week accolades this season.

It’s about as much production and composure as coach Dave Clarke could have asked out of the leader of his defensive unit. Ahearn, who, along with current teammate Mallory Curran, re-wrote the record books Fairfield County power Danbury High, was a high-profile recruit when Clarke sold her on a program that had won just five of 17 games the previous year. Ahearn, 2004 All-State, All-New England, and Connecticut Player of the Year candidate is opening eyes yet again.

In 2005, Ahearn played just one game, the season opener against St. Peter’s, before being relocated to the bench with a nagging, season-ending injury.

Ahearn spent nearly her entire summer on QU’s scenic campus, working out with trainers and refining elements of her game. It’s clearly paid dividends this fall on the pitch.

With the Bobcats’ record standing at 8-2-2 at week’s end, this is their finest record in recent memory. They’ve already tied the win total they registered last season.

After challenging top-ranked Monmouth (also undefeated in conference play) to a dog fight which concluded with a 1-1 draw last week, the Bobcats are eyeing an NEC title trip. If Ahearn and the Bobcats continue to play the way they’ve played thus far, a showdown with the Hawks in mid-November might be in the cards.

Quinnipiac is slated for a date with the LIU Blackbirds on Friday in Brooklyn, before heading to Staten Island for a match up with Wagner on Sunday.


About Zach Smart