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Quinnipiac field hockey downs Sacred Heart
Sometime home-field advantage can pay off. The Quinnipiac field hockey team has enjoyed a comfortable 5-1 record at home this season. In addition, the Bobcats have won seven out of their last eight games, including three in a row, since a 7-0 loss to Old Dominion on Sept. 29.
The winning streak continued on Sunday, with a 4-1 win over Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and intra-state rival Sacred Heart Pioneers at the QU Turf Complex. Quinnipiac earns its fifth straight win over Sacred Heart, and now owns a 17-11 edge in the all-time series.
Quinnipiac (8-5, 1-0 MAAC) was led by senior Jess Rusin and graduate student Kristin Engelke, who both recorded a goal and an assist. Jennalise Taylor and Megan Ostanistch added a goal apiece. Amanda Danziger, and Danielle Allan each collected an assist.
More importantly, the win has special significance for Rusin. Rusin’s goal and assist moved her past Heather Cady for the most goals all-time in program history. Rusin now has 32 career goals.
The 5-foot-7 Garwood, N.J. native etched her name into the record books with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation. After a penalty corner was given to the Bobcats, Christa Romano took the corner and sent a pass to Jennalise Taylor at the top of the circle. Taylor’s initial shot was saved by Sacred Heart goaltender Mary Altepeter, but Rusin corralled the bouncing ball and whacked home the rebound for her ninth goal of the season and the all-time goal record.
Rusin didn’t even know that goal was the one. Rusin needs just two points to match Cady’s career total of 80 points.
“To be honest, I thought that goal was going to tie the record,” Rusin said. “I was more surprised.
Quinnipiac head coach Becca Main spoke highly of Rusin.
“I can’t believe I’m getting emotional,” Main said after Rusin’s record breaking goal. “Jess was brought here to score goals. This is why she is here and this is what she was brought here for.”
“She means a lot, she put herself into her own category and in her own level,” Main said. “She’s fulfilled all the dreams that I’ve had for her, and all the dreams that she’s wanted as well. It was really a wonderful thing to see.”
Just seven minutes into the game, the Bobcats capitalized on a penalty corner. Romano inserted the ball into the circle and sent a pass to Amanda Danziger who fed Rusin. Rusin then drew a collection of Pioneer defenders and instead found Taylor inside the circle and she blasted a shot past Altepeter for a 1-0 lead.
Sacred Heart (4-8, 0-1 MAAC) would not go away. Just 2:25 later at the 9:40 mark of the first half, Stephanie Frye gathered a loose ball in the circle, and sent a shot through a crowd of defenders and past Quinnipiac goaltender Megan Conaboy to tie the game.
“Anytime you are in a conference game, especially in your very first ever MAAC conference game you’re going to get up,” Main said. “I think the adjustments we made in the second half, they [Sacred Heart] have very good goalkeeper, a nice goalkeeper and they had a really good defensive penalty unit. We had to really dig down and obviously it took us way too many corners and opportunities to put it in but we did.”
Deadlocked at halftime, the Bobcats added three consecutive goals in the second half to put the game out of reach.
Just over nine minutes into the second half, Romano fed Danziger off a penalty corner who fed Megan Osanitsch. Osanitsch blasted a shot into the back of the net to give Quinnipiac a 2-1 lead.
After Rusin’s record breaking goal gave the Bobcats a two goal cushion at 3-1, Engelke put the game away for good with eight minutes left. Engelke dribbled in alone on Altepeter and sent a shot past the goaltender’s outstretched blocker for a 4-1 lead. Danielle Allan was credited with an assist.
Conaboy finished with two saves on three shots, while Altepeter recorded seven saves on 11 shots. The Bobcats held the advantage in total shots, 19-5 and also penalty corners 15-2.
Quinnipiac sits in a tie for first place in the conference with just five games remaining in the regular season. The Bobcats are back in action on Friday when they host MAAC rival Robert Morris at 3 p.m.
“It feels amazing,” Rusin said of the record. “I’m kind of relieved though. I’m happy because obviously I’m really excited, the team’s really excited, but now we can focus on winning the MAAC.”