Women’s Soccer: Bobcats fall in NEC semifinals
While the team lost its first postseason game since 2004, there’s plenty of young firepower to make another run next season.
No. 3 Quinnipiac women’s soccer team lost to the No. 2 Monmouth Hawks 1-0 on Friday afternoon in the NEC semifinals, hosted by Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. Junior forward Mary Wilks scored her league-leading 12th goal of the season in the 36th minute to give the Hawks the win.
“We got punished on a mistake, and we didn’t take our chances when they came,” Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke said. “We actually played quite well, but we just ran out of gas a little bit in the end. Illnesses and injuries caught up with key players. Overall, we did well and we stayed in it until the end.”
Sophomore midfielder Courtney Snyder collected a Bobcat turnover at the midfield line and chipped a ball over the defense and into the 18-yard box. Wilks beat a couple of Bobcat defenders to the ball and blasted a shot over the head of goalie Biz Cook.
Freshman Jillian Strasser had an early chance to put the Bobcats on the board. In the 11th minute, she collected a cross from the left side and shot it just wide left of the goal. Quinnipiac’s best chance to score came early in the second half. Junior Meagan McLoughlin picked up a rebound 11 yards from the goal and blasted a ball right into the hands of Hawks’ goalie Lia Fierro.
Quinnipiac was held to seven total shots and only one shot on goal. Fierro picked up her league-leading 13th shutout. Before the tournament, Fierro was named the goalie for the All-NEC First Team. Junior Ali Kliment, a member of the Hawks’ back four, was named the NEC Defensive Player of the Year.
Strassner, who led the Bobcats with two shots on Friday, was named the NEC Rookie of the Year and also earned a spot on the All-NEC First Team. She ranked second on the team with four goals and three assists.
She was joined on the First Team by sophomore teammate Furtuna Velaj, who led the team with 11 goals and eight assists. Quinnipiac sophomore midfielder Kristina Del Mistro and senior Hanne Walleck were both named to the All-Tournament team.
Walleck was named to the All-NEC Second Team for her defensive efforts. She was the only player to start all 16 regular season games, and was a big contributor to a defense that only gave up 24 goals.
Monmouth went on to beat No. 1 CCSU in the championship game, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon in overtime on a goal from Wilks in the 92nd minute. Wilks was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player, and Fierro notched her 14th shutout of the season.
Quinnipiac ended the season with a 8-7-2 overall record and a 7-3-1 record in the NEC. The loss marked the final game in blue and gold for seniors Justine Lombardi, Olivia Kravitz, Lindsay Oliveri, Susan Donovan and Kara Barrepski.