Women’s soccer defeats Canisius in MAAC Quarterfinals

The Bobcats beat the Golden Griffins 3-0 in the MAAC quarterfinals, earning their first home playoff win in program history

By on October 29, 2016

Quinnipiac women’s soccer won its first playoff home game in program history, defeating Canisius in the MAAC Quarterfinals with a score of 3-0 in Hamden on Saturday.

Rachael Aliprandi

Senior midfielder Kelly Caruso was grateful to have had home-field advantage.

“This was the best thing that could have ever happened to us,” Caruso said. “It was amazing. It meant the world for us to play our game here.”

The Bobcats are the only team in the MAAC who have not lost a single home game this season.

This was the first time Quinnipiac has advanced into a postseason tournament in a non-automatic qualifying season since 2010 when the Bobcats were in the Northeast Conference.

The Bobcats held possession early in the first half but could not break the Golden Griffins’ back line at first.

While the Bobcats were struggling to play the ball into the box, Jess Gargan was perfectly willing to settle for a few shots from outside. She fired two long range balls just wide of Canisius’ goal.

The Bobcats were eventually able to break down Canisius’ defense when Al Pelletier went on a run into the box for the Bobcats, but she misplayed a cross out of bounds with 25 minutes remaining.

From there, the Bobcats were in the driver’s seat, connecting the dots and moving the ball in the attacking third.

The Bobcats capitalized on this momentum when Madison Borowiec was fouled, earning the Bobcats a free kick just outside the box with 25:46 to play in the half. Caruso rifled the free kick over Canisius’ three-player wall and over goaltender Alana Rossi to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead.

“I just looked and saw that the goal was pretty close to me and I hit it as hard as I could,” Caruso said. “I knew that this ball was going to swerve, especially having the wind with me, and I knew I could get a lot of power behind it so I went for it.”

Quinnipiac held possession for most of the half, as Canisius struggled to get the ball past midfield but the visitors did mount some offensive pressure throughout the final seven minutes.

The Bobcats were able to build off their first period possession with several scoring opportunities early in the second half. One of those opportunities came off another free kick from Caruso. This time, Rossi came up with a big save, laying out to deflect Caruso’s shot.

Rossi would eventually be beaten again when Pelletier dropped a high, curling chip shot just inside the right post on a right footed shot from the left side. The goal, assisted by Gargan, gave the Bobcats a 2-0 lead with 36:04 to play.

Meaghan O’Neill came in to relieve Rossi with 31:46 remaining and made a statement early, stopping Nadya Gill on a point blank shot as Gill broke through the Golden Griffins’ back line.

Gill would not stay silent for long. With 21:28 to play, Gill placed a shot into the bottom left corner past O’Neill’s reach from just outside the box on the right side. Her team-leading ninth goal gave the Bobcats a 3-0 lead.

With what seemed like an insurmountable lead, head coach Dave Clarke substituted Olivia Myszewski out for Devan Malcolm with 6:58 to play. Myszewski made three saves on the afternoon for the Bobcats.

Just one minute after being subbed in, Malcolm was put to the test, making back-to-back point blank saves as Canisius applied a burst of pressure.

Aside from similar outbursts from the Golden Griffins offense, Quinnipiac held possession for most of the game. The Bobcats led 16-9 in shots and 10-5 in shots on goal.

Possession has been a point of emphasis for the Bobcats lately, according to Caruso.

“We’ve been practicing keeping the ball, switching it, and I think that’s exactly what we did,” she said. “We’ve been really focusing on that lately.”

Coming in hot, the fifth place Canisius Golden Griffins came into Hamden fresh off a 1-0 upset win over Siena, the second seed in the MAAC. Canisius had won three of its last four regular season games.

Despite having Gretta Dry, the highest-scoring freshman in the MAAC, Canisius has not scored a single goal against Quinnipiac.

The Bobcats defeated the Golden Griffins 3-0 in Hamden on Oct. 8, the only time the two teams faced each other.

Speaking after the game, Clarke gave credit to his defensive line for shutting down Dry.

“For us, it was just cutting the ball out, and then also dropping off. We try not to let [Dry] get in behind us. We didn’t mind her having the ball in front and I think for the most part we did that,” Clarke said. “We limited her chances. I don’t remember any specific time other than free kicks and corners where she caused us problems so I think the back four did a good job.”

With the win, Quinnipiac will travel to West Long Branch, New Jersey to take on either first place Monmouth or second place Siena in the MAAC semifinals on Nov. 14.

Not knowing the Bobcats’ next opponent will be is no problem at all for Clarke.

“We’re not going to change anything from what we’ve done so far this season,” he said.

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Staff Writer
Journalism Major
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Class of 2019