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Unsavory end for women’s soccer
The Bobcats hosted the Blue Devils of Central Connecticut State (CCSU) in their regular season finale on Sunday. The Blue Devils squeaked by with a 1-0 victory, sealing the season for QU. In the 34th minute of play, Blue Devil midfielder Ciara Crinion passed the ball to midfielder Leah Blayney on the right side. Blayney dribbled to just outside the six-yard box and shot just over Quinnipiac goalie Jillian Kelley for the game’s only goal.
The Bobcats had their chances to tie the game, but came up short. In the 20th minute, Bobcat forward Furtuna Velaj took a shot on goal, but Blue Devil goalie Erin Herd dove to her right and deflected the shot. The ball bounced off the right goal post and rolled back out to the top of the six-yard-box before Herd jumped on it. It was a back-and-forth game, but the Blue Devils were able to hold on to their 1-0 lead and get the victory.
This game was more than the season finale. CCSU is an in-state rival to QU, located a mere 27 miles away. In addition, Bobcat head coach Dave Clarke is a CCSU alumnus. With the loss, the Bobcats failed to make the playoffs as their season came to a close.
The Bobcats needed some help to earn the fourth seed in the NEC. They needed to beat the 6-2 Blue Devils, and St. Francis and Fairleigh Dickson had to lose. Even then, it was not guaranteed that the Bobcats would make the NEC playoffs, due to tiebreaking procedures.
According to Coach Clarke, the Bobcats gave one of their “best performances” of the season in their 1-0 loss considering all of the circumstances surrounding the game. Clarke felt that because CCSU was already in the playoffs they would be able to relax and play freely in the game. Despite the loss, Clarke felt that the team “played well and passed well” and should be able to hang their hats on a successful season, although the season will leave a bitter taste in the team’s mouth.
Even though the Bobcats failed to make the playoffs, there is a bright future ahead. With a young roster, they were able to gain valuable experience this season. Freshman forward Velaj finished first in the NEC in shots (105), points (31), goals (15) and game-winning goals (7) in the regular season. In addition, she finished 10th in the nation in goals per game, with 2.21 G.P.G. Freshman goalie Kelley finished ranked third in goals against average (0.93), sixth in save percentage (.800), seventh in saves (56) and tied for third in shutouts (4). Junior forward Susan Donovan tied for eighth place in assists (4).
The Bobcats ended their season with a 7-7-2 record.