By Bobby Schilling
(HAMDEN, Conn.)—It’s not the way they would have wanted to end the season, but the Quinnipiac women’s soccer team finished off their season Sunday with a 1-0 loss to Central Connecticut State University. The lone goal of the game was scored near the end of the first half by junior Leah Blayney for the victorious Blue Devils.
The majority of the first half was spent in the Bobcats’ defensive zone as CCSU controlled the majority of possession. To the untrained eye it would have seemed like CCSU was dominating the game, but Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke disagreed.
“I really didn’t see it that way,” he said. “Sometimes it looks that way, but we let them have the ball. We weren’t really letting them go forward. It was more of conceding possession. I thought we created better scoring chances.”
And the Bobcats did indeed get some golden scoring opportunities despite having less possession. They exposed the Blue Devils on some fast-paced counterattacks, and freshman Furtuna Velaj was literally inches away from scoring. With 20 minutes remaining in the first half, Velaj got to the ball and put a shot on net. CCSU senior goalkeeper Erin Herd made a diving play to deflect the ball, which then trickled past her and hit the post. However, it did not cross the goal line, and the game remained scoreless.
The Blue Devils took advantage with 10 minutes left in the first half. On a scramble in the QU box, Blayney got free and ripped a shot into the net. She was assisted by junior Jessica Davies.
In the second half, the Bobcats came out with a lot of energy. The game also got very physical, as the two teams combined for 12 fouls. Unfortunately for QU, they were not able to get the equalizer, and they fell by a final of 1-0.
Despite the season-ending loss, Clarke was very proud of his team. “That’s our best performance of the year,” he said. “To play as well as we did and dominate the second half, that’s a lot to build off of and a lot to be proud of.”
The Bobcats finish the season with a mark of 7-7-2 (3-4-2), and will just miss out on the NEC tournament.