Conn. - Junior Katilyn Notarianni (Clark Summit, Pa.) led
Quinnipiac to a 4-1 win against Lehigh in the Bobcats'
season-opener in Bethlehem, Pa. Notarianni scored three times in
the Bobcats' first season-opening win since the 2005 season when
Quinnipiac downed LaSalle, 1-0. Sophomore Kristin Engelke (Medford,
N.J.) had a goal and two assists while freshman Jess Rusin
(Garwood, N.J. ) picked up her first career point on an assist.
Quinnipiac opens the year at 1-0 while Lehigh goes to 1-1.
"It was an incredibly exciting game," Quinnipiac Head Coach Becca Kohli said. "We played a lot of players, it was extremely hot on the surface and I think that it wore Lehigh down. We were man-down and scored three times and Nicole Lewis did a great job in the cage. We gave up too many corners and she did a great job turning them away."
Notarianni scored the first goal of the game at the 27:14 mark to tie the game, 1-1, heading into the half. The goal came off a corner with the assist going to Engelke. Notarianni then scored the two fastest goals in Quinnipiac's Division I history inside the first two minutes of the second half with both goals coming within 24 seconds of one another. Engelke finished the Bobcats' scoring off a pass from Rusin at the 57:12 mark.
"It was exciting for us to win our first game of the year," Notarianni said. "We're a very new team, with a lot of new players. We had one player, MacKenzie Liptak, who had extensive playing experience on the forward line and me and Kristen [Engelke] were left to do a job, and we did it."
Lewis (East Amherst, N.Y.), making her first career start in goal, turned back seven of eight shots by Lehigh for her first career victory. Lehigh held the advantage in penalty corners over the Bobcats, 12-2, including nine in the second half, but the Quinnipiac defense and Lewis stifled the Mountain Hawk's scoring opportunities down the stretch. The Bobcats offense accounted for three goals while playing a man-down.
Lehigh's Kimberly Eng scored the game's first goal, her second of the season, just 9:24 into the game off of a penalty corner. The Bobcats shut down Lehigh's special teams after that, halting 11 straight opportunities. Lewis stopped all five shots on goal in the second half to hold Lehigh scoreless.
"It was great to get out on the field again," Engelke said. "It seemed like a long time since the end of last season and it was a lot of fun to get out there with our teammates again. There's a good mix of experienced and new players on the team this year and I think they all did well. This was a high-intensity win and it was a lot of fun."
The Bobcats return home on Friday, Sept. 3 when they host Boston College at 4 p.m. at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Field in Hamden, Conn. Quinnipiac then heads to New Haven, Conn. on Sunday, Sept. 5 for a 1 p.m. tilt against Yale at Johnson Field.