Bobcats Fall Short On Senior Day
By Zach Smart
For Quinnipiac coach Dani Caro and the Women’s Lacrosse team, it has morphed into a typical headliner of the season.
An opponent reels of a potent spurt in the first half, the Bobcats claw back in a second-half clock fight.
“We’re a team that likes to respond,” explained senior Sophia Pantelides after a recent down-to-the-wire loss against Mount St. Mary’s.
The captain’s words echoed in sophomore middie Tiffany Manzi. “In general, we’re a more put-together team in the second half.”
The trend continued for the Bobcats on Friday, April 13. The second half surge didn’t work in the Bobcats’ favor. The visiting Sacred Heart Pioneers ate up the clock in alligator-size bites, holding off another promising attack that the Bobcats wouldn’t unleash until late in the second half.
Down 8-1 early, the Bobcats came roaring back from a 9-4 halftime deficit, ripping off a 7-4 run to pull within two goals after Tiffany Manzi’s shot found the back of the net with 7:46 remaining.
The Pioneers held strong, however, moving the ball inside the restraining line to run out the clock. Sacred Heart was composed, playing sound defense to prevent the Bobcats from threatening their lead.
Opportunities emerged for the Bobcats, but they couldn’t capitalize and prolong the rally. After Quinnipiac committed a costly turnover inside the eight-meter arc, all hopes of a comeback died out. The Pioneers regained possession, cleared the ball, and burned clock time with 3:45 to go, en route to a 13-11 victory before an announced crowd of 212 on the Bobcats’ senior day.
The loss drops the Bobcats to third place in the Northeast Conference, behind Mount St. Mary’s and Monmouth, respectively. With a win, the ‘Cats would have jumped into a second-place logjam with the Hawks, who are off to a sizzling 11-4 start overall. Mount St. Mary’s now holds sole possession of first place.
Wedged in between a pair of relentless 4-0 Pioneer runs was a Katie Latonick goal that put the bleeding on hold.
Nicole Fiore wrapped around the back of the net and set up Latonick, who fired a shot near the borderline of the crease.
Freshman middie Lyndsey Banach thwarted the second 4-0 run with back-to-back goals, the first of which ignited a 3-0 run.
Just 19 seconds after Banach’s second goal, Latonick concluded the run with her second goal of the game.
For much of the first half, the two teams were engaged in a game of momentum tennis. The ball was on Sacred Heart’s court first.
Maureen Hohn’s goal kick-started the run, which gave the Pioneers a 8-1 advantage before the Bobcats answered with three consecutive goals.
The Pioneers outscored the Bobcats 4-3 the first 14 minutes of the second half.
Quinnipiac answered with a goal on a free position shot from Ashley Valentine, followed by even goals from Meghan Latonick, Katy Delagi, and Tiffany Manzi.
Like the Mount St. Mary’s loss, the surge was too little, too late. The Bobcats were handed their second NEC loss of the season and second home loss in two years.
The Bobcats outshot the Pioneers by 28-26 margin and scooped up 14 of the game’s 26 groundballs.
Chelsea Wagner got the victory in net, stopping 11 shots on 22 chances. The Bobcats’ Hannah Nelson made eight saves on 21 chances.
Banach scored a game-high four goals, establishing a new career-high. Sophomore middie Ashley Valentine, fresh off an NEC Player of the Week honor, paced Quinnipiac with three assists.
It was an emotional pre-game ceremony for the Bobcats. Kara Cornelius, Kristen McCarthy, Pantelides, and Meghan Turner—all of whom have played significant roles on and off the field—were honored. The quartet of seniors will be sorely missed next season.