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Women’s soccer blanks Rider
After scoring only two goals in five non-conference games and going 0-4-1 in that span, conference play may be just what the Quinnipiac women’s soccer team needed. The Bobcats shut out Rider 2-0 on Saturday afternoon at the QU Soccer Field.
Through three games in conference play, the Bobcats are undefeated in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference with a 2-0-1 record and have scored six goals during that stretch.
“The expectation was to get better as we got closer to conference play and to start out undefeated it goes to that work early in the season,” Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke said.
Clarke credits the tough non-conference schedule in helping the Bobcats adapt to the MAAC style of play. “‘It goes to the strength of the schedule, with the first five games, which we knew was going to be rough and the speed of play of the oppositions,” Clarke said. “As each game went by, Holy Cross and the University of Vermont, were sort of closer in nature to the MAAC schools.”
After a scoreless first half the Bobcats finally broke through, scoring two second-half goals.
Junior Caitlyn Shaw and senior captain Beck Kiting each collected their first goals of the season in the winning effort.
“I was a little concerned at halftime, we dominated the possession, but only had two shots to show for it,” Clarke said. “Coming out in the second half we came out fresh and changed things up. The goal came at the right time and obviously the second goal pretty much ended the game.”
The first half featured both the Bobcats and Broncs attacking from the start, but both defenses were stingy and did not allow a shot on goal. Quinnipiac and Rider would head into the half even in shots with two and the Bobcats holding the edge in corner kicks 2-0.
In the latter part of the second half, the Bobcats finally broke through. In the 73rd minute, freshman Jessica Fontaine found Shaw in the 18-yard box. Shaw received a header from Fontaine and sent a one touch pass past the outstretched arms of Rider goalkeeper Bethany-May Howard. The goal was the first career goal for Shaw, while Fontaine added to her team-leading third assist and seventh point of the season.
Quinnipiac would keep attacking the Rider defense. Just seven minutes later, Kelly Caruso took the Bobcats fourth corner of the game. Caruso placed the corner perfectly in the box to the head of Kiting. Kiting headed the ball perfectly into the back of the net for her second goal on the season and the eighth of her career.
“We practice set pieces and corners a lot because they are so important especially in the women’s game and Kelly was on the ball in the corner,” Kiting said. “She is very good at getting the ball where we want it to be and I gave a little shout of near post and she got it perfect for me and I didn’t really have to do much with it. I just let the ball hit my head and it went into the goal.”
Natalia Grodzki finished the game with four second half saves while Vanessa Perdamo and Howard split time with each playing a half. Neither goalkeeper would record a save for Rider.
The Bobcats return to action on Wednesday, when they travel down Interstate 95 to take on rival Fairfield. Start time is slated for 7 p.m. at Lessing Field in Fairfield, Conn.
“I think we did really good today, we thought that Rider was a team we could definitely beat,” Kiting said. “We are just really happy to come away with the win.”