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QU steers past Wagner in rain
Unceasing rain flooded the Quinnipiac Soccer Field on Sunday afternoon, as the women’s soccer team beat the Wagner Seahawks 4-2. By the end of the game, the field was the closest thing to having a pool at Quinnipiac.
Bobcat freshman Jillian Strassner scored once and had two assists to help lead Quinnipiac past Wagner 4-2. The win moves the Bobcats up to third place in the Northeast Conference with just four games remaining in the season. The top four teams make it to the NEC tournament.
“This has been a tremendous week for us,” Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke said. “We were 1-9-2 in the last three years [in this week], and now we picked up three wins and a draw out of this week. So we put ourselves in the driver’s seat to be where we want to be for the next month.”
Strassner scored her fourth goal of the season in the 19th minute off a corner from sophomore Furtuna Velaj to start the scoring. Strassner was in a pack of players just outside the 6-yard box and jumped the highest to head the ball into the top right corner of the goal. Velaj was credited with her sixth assist of the season.
Eight minutes before halftime, the Bobcats doubled their lead. Strassner collected her first assist of the season when she stole the ball from a Wagner defender and dropped it off to a wide open Shauna Edwards, a freshman. She shot a low and wet ball that went from just inside the 18-yard box off goalkeeper Jen Emigholz’s hands and rolled into the lower left corner of the goal. Edwards picked up her second goal of the season.
The Bobcats kept their foot on the gas in the second half and scored a goal just five minutes into the half. This time, Strassner charged down the left side of the field and crossed a ball into the middle. Senior Amber Sidoti just had to tap the ball into the back of the net for her first goal of the season. It was Strassner’s second assist of the game.
The Seahawks may have received some help from the weather to cut the deficit to 3-1 in the 61st minute. Wagner’s Monica Zurich sent a harmless-looking ball up field just out of the reach of Briana Vassallo. Bobcat goalie Elizabeth Cook kneeled down to collect the ball, but the ball slipped out of her hands. Vassallo was the first to recover and pushed the ball into the lower left corner of the goal.
Thirteen minutes later, Vassallo connected for her second goal of the game to cut the Bobcats lead to one. This time Julie Vigliotti sent a ball from midfield down the left side to a charging Vassallo. The junior forward ran inside the box and drilled the ball into the top left corner to beat Cook.
The Bobcats didn’t seem shocked, and scored the final goal a minute later in the 75th minute. Velaj curved a nice cross from the right side into the box that was originally caught by Wagner’s goalie. Emigholz couldn’t hold on to the wet ball and it dropped right in front of the feet of senior Lindsay Oliveri. Oliveri kicked the ball into the bottom left corner for the 4-2 final. It was her first career goal, and Velaj picked up her team-leading seventh assist.
The Bobcats had a season-high 29 shots and won for the fourth time in their last five games. They improve to 5-5-1 overall and 4-1-1 in the NEC. Wagner registered nine shots in the loss and drops to 1-12-2 overall and 0-6-1 in the NEC.
Elizabeth Cook recorded three saves and improved to 4-0-1 since taking the starting job for the Bobcats.
“I knew she had potential,” Clarke said. “It was more of a tactical change in terms of bringing her in ahead of Kendra [Margulies], who had done well. It was because of the games against Sacred Heart on turf that Biz placed a little bit higher. It’s worked out well.”
The Bobcats now have 13 points in the NEC, three points behind Monmouth and Central Connecticut State University for first place.
This weekend the Bobcats will go on the road for their final two road games of the regular season. They will take on Mount St. Mary’s on Friday 7 p.m. and will face Monmouth on Sunday at 1 p.m.