NEC Women’s Lacrosse Champion Decided in Classic Fashion
By TJ Buzzeo
April 29, 2008
HAMDEN — Many expected that the re-match between the Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart women’s lacrosse teams would be a great game, however few thought it would be a classic.
The lead flipped back and forth between both teams several times, with goals being scored almost at will until the 16:33 mark in the game. After sophomore midfielder Lyndsey Banach scored to tie the game for the Bobcats at 13, the game was scoreless until the 2:18 mark when the Pioneers senior attack Liz Ottey scored to regain the lead for Sacred Heart.
Junior midfielder Tiffany Manzi tied the game for the Bobcats with her third goal of the game with just 32 seconds remained in the game. However, the excitement would not stop there as sophomore attack Kelly Bruneau had two shots on goal with 14 seconds remaining and was unable to give the Bobcats the lead.
Sophomore goalie Chelsea Wagner was able to stop both of Bruneau’s shots and get the ball up to her offense with just enough time for junior attack Amanda Williams to set up sophomore attack Carissa Hauser for her fifth goal of the game to win it for the Pioneers.
The first seven minutes of the game were sloppily played as seven goals were scored and a numerous amount of penalties called. At the end of that seven minute span Quinnipiac held a 4-3 lead, but would be without senior attack Katy Delagi who left the game with a leg injury immediately following her second goal of the game which came with 24:17 remaining in the first half.
Although the quality of game play improved as the first half went along, gaols were still being scored almost at will. The Bobcats had their biggest lead of the game with 4:12 remaining in the first half, when junior midfielder Ashley Valentine was able to beat Wagner to extend the lead 10-7. Any thoughts of a comfortable win for Quinnipiac were thrown out the window almost immediately when Sacred Heart scored two quick goals to cut the deficit to one at the half.
The second half was very similar to the first with the lead changes and the inability of either team to pull away from the other. Then, with three seconds left and overtime looming overhead Hauser was able to sneak a shot past sophomore goalie Hannah Nelson to win the game for the Pioneers.
Quinnipiac played well in their first ever NEC title game, but as Quinnipiac head coach Danie Caro put it, “Sacred Heart made plays when it counted.”
After the game the All-Tournament team was announced and three Bobcats were honored. They were Manzi who had five goals and an assist in the two games, Delagi who had three goals and an assist, and senior defender Jamie Zeitler who added a goal in the championship game to go along with her tremendous defense.
With only Delagi and Zeitler graduating, and having the NEC Player of the Year (Manzi), the NEC Defender of the Year (Nelson) and the Coach of the Year (Caro) returning the Bobcats are in a position to make another run at the NEC Championship again next year.