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Come and gone
Women’s sports highlight fall season, make tourney splashes
For the second straight season, the Quinnipiac women’s soccer team was ousted from the NEC Tournament in a heartbreaker. Last year the Bobcats lost to Monmouth on a first-half goal. This time around, Quinnipiac (7-7-4, 5-2-3 NEC) lost in penalty kicks 3-1 to St. Francis (Pa.) after a 2-2 overtime draw.
“We were disappointed in the manner of how we lost,” Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke said. “In comparison to last year we didn’t do ourselves justice against Monmouth; we walked off the field facing St. Francis (Pa.) having played well.”
The Bobcats started the season 0-4, but Furtuna Velaj’s hat trick over Dartmouth Sept. 17 ignited a 4-2-1 stretch for QU.
“She’s more of a creator and a person who sets up chances for others,” Clarke said. “She had more assists than last year and was starting plays.”
A 3-0 regular season loss to St. Francis (Pa.) Oct. 15 forced the Bobcats into a mindset to avoid elimination, and Clarke believes that game was a turning point in the season.
“We kept the team in the locker room for two hours after the game because it was a crossroad in our season. They didn’t play well or work hard and at that point in time they were facing elimination if results didn’t go our way.”
Quinnipiac subsequently outscored its opponents 8-1 over the final five games and got the results needed to make the playoffs. Despite the result, Clarke already has set his sights on next season, as “11-11-11” is written on his board in his office, which represents the first round of next year’s NCAA Tournament.
After heading to the conference title game last season, Quinnipiac hoped to do one better. But the Bobcats finished tied for eighth in the conference (4-11-2, 3-6-1 NEC).
Quinnipiac started off slow, scoring only one goal in its 0-4-1 start. The opening game of the season was a heartbreaker when a hand ball in the box in the 89th minute led to Boston College’s game-winning penalty kick goal.
Despite scoring 13 goals in the next seven games, Quinnipiac only went 3-4 in the stretch. Matthew Rothbart’s goal in the 87th minute led the Bobcats past Mount St. Mary’s Oct. 3 for the team’s first win of the season.
Goalkeeper Josh Lavallee provided two shutouts for the Bobcats and made 50 saves over the course of the season.
Senior captain Pierre Soubrier, who led the team with five assists, tied with fellow senior Dwayne Mars for second on the team in points (nine). Philip Suprise led the team with five goals and 11 points.
Women’s Cross Country
For an unprecedented sixth consecutive season, the Quinnipiac women’s cross country team took home the NEC title. Becca White led the way for the Bobcats, setting a new league record with a time of 17:17.1.
“White certainly highlighted the day, with the individual conference champion,” Quinnipiac head coach Carolyn Martin said.
White finished first for the Bobcats on five occasions, including first overall at the Quinnipiac Invitational. White took first place by 28 seconds, and the Faust triplets (Amanda, Brianna, Christina) finished second, third, and fourth respectively in the only home meet.
The Bobcats took the conference championship and placed 20th in NCAA Regionals. White and Amanda Faust were the first two Bobcats to cross the finish line, while graduate student Kristen Stevens finished third for the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac will return a strong group of runners next fall, including White, the Faust triplets, junior Katie Beam, sophomore Andrea Szarkowicz, and freshman Jessica Soja.
Men’s Cross Country
Entering the season with only one senior (John Greenlaw), Quinnipiac’s men’s cross country team hoped to develop more talent as the season progressed. The top five runners in the first race for the Bobcats were freshmen or sophomores.
Sophomores Brian Cotter and Mike Levene finished one-two for the Bobcats in their opening race. Levene finished first for the Bobcats five times out of the six races he competed.
At the Quinnipiac Invitational, the only home meet the team had on the season, Levene finished fifth overall. Cotter finished 23 seconds behind Levene, ninth overall in the race.
The Bobcats will return 12 runners, including Jacob Cetera, who finished second for QU (21st overall) at the CCSU Mini Cross-Country meet, and freshman Dylan Denuzzo, who finished third for the Bobcats at the race.
“We took strides toward improvement,” Quinnipiac coach Carolyn Martin said, “but certainly look to continue to get stronger for next year.”
The team entered the season in a supposed “rebuilding year,” Quinnipiac head coach Becca Kohli said, because of the team’s youth. But the players did not play like they were going through a rebuilding year.
“I think we overachieved and I was really pleased,” Kohli said. “We had a bunch of really talented younger players step in and put us in a really nice place all season.”
The Bobcats finished the season 8-10 (4-4 NEC) and lost to top-seeded Rider in the first round of the NEC Tournament, a team they battled with in overtime in a home conference game during the regular season.
Quinnipiac lost two games by one goal, but five of the team’s losses were by at least three, including losses to nationally-ranked Boston College and Michigan.
“I really liked how they responded to losses this season because they were able to constructively adjust what happened and move on to the next game,” Kohli said.
Senior Tina Watkins and graduate student Katherine Van Nostrand were both named to the All-NEC team after racking up 11 and seven points, respectively. Juniors Kimberly Cunniff and Kaitlyn Notarianni each notched seven goals and 17 points for QU.
Next year, senior Megan McCreedy will return from injury.
“She’s one of the strongest players in the conference and to get her back into this group is exciting,” Kohli said.
After the program was nearly erased after the Title IX case, Quinnipiac’s women’s volleyball team was still intact. Though a 6-22 record (4-12 NEC), the team managed to grow as a team.
“We had a great season,” Quinnipiac head coach Robin Sparks said after the final game. “We had a lot of firsts. … we had a lot of splits and lost a lot of really close matches, but that’s only going to help us in the future because we’re so young.”
Graduate student Amanda Armstrong led the team with 255 kills, followed by junior Kelby Carey (241). Junior setter Kayla Lawler led the team with 992 assists and led the conference with .51 service aces per set. Sophomore Logan Riker led the team with 423 digs.
As a team, the Bobcats registered more kills (1,233), assists (1,150), service aces (191), and digs (1,731) than any other team this decade.
“Some of the kids are all ready excited for spring season,” Sparks said. “How often do you finish a season and before it’s over the kids are all ready talking about next year? They’re really excited. We just expect even more next year.”