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Field hockey turns focus to NCAAs after MAAC finals
On Sunday night, the Quinnipiac field hockey team watched eagerly to find out who its opponent would be in the NCAA Tournament. The loud and excited crowd in the conference room made up of players and coaches quickly became silent once the selection show came on.
The Bobcats found out right away they would be traveling to Washington D.C. to face Patriot League foe American University in a play-in game for the NCAA Tournament.
The Bobcats did not play the Eagles this season, but they did defeat them 3-2 last season. The Eagles posted a 14-5 record this season, and received an automatic bid into the tournament with a 3-0 win over Boston University in the Patriot League championship.
Quinnipiac collected a 14-6 record this year. The team also went 5-1 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, which was enough to clinch a share of the regular season title.
The field hockey team clinched an automatic bid to the national tournament with a 1-0 win against Robert Morris in the MAAC Championship game last Saturday. With the win, the Bobcats won their first MAAC Championship in their inaugural season in the conference. The title was also the Bobcats’ first conference championship since 2003.
The Bobcats dominated the conference tournament, having four players make the all-tournament team, including the tournament MVP, senior defenseman Amanda Danziger, who scored the game-winning goal in the finals.
For some of the players the conference title hasn’t even kicked in yet.
“It has all been a whirlwind,” junior goalkeeper Megan Conaboy said.
In her first year starting, Conaboy stepped up for the Bobcats, especially late in the season. Conaboy collected four straight shutouts to end the season, including two in the conference tournament, which led to her receiving all tournament honors.
“If we wanted to be successful, I knew I had to step up,” Conaboy said.
Another component to the Bobcats’ success this season has been forward Jess Rusin. The senior captain put up record-breaking numbers, including 16 goals to go along with five assists. These stats led to having Rusin awarded the MAAC Offensive Player of the Year. Rusin showed confidence all season.
“First day of practice, we sat down in the conference room and decided that we aren’t leaving until we win the MAAC,” Rusin said.
Right after winning the MAAC title, the Quinnipiac field hockey team started preparing for the NCAA Tournament.
“Right when we got on the bus after the game, we started preparing for Wednesday,” Quinnipiac head coach Becca Main said.
Despite losing four seniors from last year’s team, the leadership of those players rubbed off on this year’s team.
“The great leadership on the team came from the leadership before them in the alumni,” Main said. “We’re all business now, I like our chances.”
Quinnipiac’s confidence is high as the squad prepares for its game on Wednesday.
“We are going to win on Wednesday, and we are going to have fun doing it,” Conaboy said.