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Overtime goal gives Bobcats win
Quinnipiac freshman forward Jillian Strassner’s double-overtime goal broke a scoreless tie with the Bryant Bulldogs to give the Bobcats their first conference win of the season on Sunday at the Quinnipiac Soccer Field.
Another freshman, goalkeeper Biz Cook, came up huge for the Bobcats in the beginning of double-overtime when Bryant’s Kaitlyn Fare attempted to break the shutout. Cook didn’t allow it and made the stop, leaving an opening for Strassner.
One minute after Cook’s save, Strassner found the opening. She received a pass from sophomore midfielder Kristina Del Mistro, and placed her shot to the right of Bryant goalkeeper Kelsi Jacob’s dive and into the back of the net.
“It was a fight to the end, everyone was tired,” Strassner said. “We had to ignore the fact that we didn’t have Furtuna (Velaj) and just play.”
Velaj, the Northeast Conference scoring leader, was serving a suspension because of a red card from the previous game, the conference-opener, at Central Connecticut State.
“This team has been through a lot these past couple of weeks,” Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke said. “We had just come off a tough, emotional loss our last game. This win is more of a win for everyone else, not the ones who were out, but the ones who were able to contribute in this game.”
Cook notched a shutout in her collegiate debut and played all 110 minutes. She started in the spot of Kendra Margulies, who had started all seven previous games this season.
“With the conditions, [Cook] is more capable of fielding the wet balls,” Clarke said. “We wanted to throw [her] into a situation in order to make her better.”
The first half saw back-and-forth action with neither team taking a significant advantage. Both teams battled poor field conditions in the first half due to the rain from the night before and just prior to the start of the game.
No shots were fired until the third minute of play, coming off a corner kick by Bryant forward Sarah Donovan. The shot headed wide of the goal, and Quinnipiac cleared it away.
The first save of the game came in the 14th minute when Bryant’s Kaitlyn Hinck was denied by Cook. The best opportunity for the Bobcats in the first half was when Sarah Donovan missed a wide-open shot high of the net.
The Bobcats headed into the locker rooms at the end of the first half with no score, and the second half yielded the same results, but with less scoring opportunities. However, this time the half was played in clear skies.
Strassner had a beat on the ball, made her way toward the 18-yard box with three minutes left in regulation, and was bumped, but there was no call, much to the crowd’s displeasure.
After 90 minutes of scoreless play, the Bobcats headed into their fourth overtime game of the year. They had previously been 1-1-1 in OT.
Del Mistro had an opportunity to put this one in the books and defeat her sister, Steph Del Mistro of Bryant late in the first overtime. However, Jacob made a leaping save to send it into overtime.
The Bobcats will face NEC-foe Fairleigh Dickinson in Teaneck, N.J. Friday at 7 p.m.