Field Hockey Lands Five On All-Northeast Conference Team
HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University field hockey team had five players named to the All-Northeast Conference First and Second Teams, as announced at the annual Northeast Conference Field Hockey banquet on the eve of the NEC Tournament. Kim Cunniff (Walpole, Mass.) and Tina Watkins (Sweet Valley, Pa.) were named to the First Team while Kaitlyn Notarianni (Clarks Summit, Pa.), Lauren Zimniski (Dallas, Pa.) and Katie Van Nostrand (Derry, N.H.) were named to the Second Team. The Bobcats' five players are the second most honored by one team this year, behind Monmouth's six, in the eight-team Northeast Conference.
Cunniff was honored for the first time by the NEC with a First Team selection after being named NEC Player of the Week on Sept. 27 and Oct. 4. Cunniff was one of two players in the Northeast Conference to earn the weekly honor twice. The junior from Walpole, Mass. tied for the team lead with seven goals, while adding two assists, for a career-best 16 points. Known for her hard drives, Cunniff was one of two players, along with Kristen Engelke, in the Bobcats' line-up to score in three straight games. She was also one of two Quinnipiac players, along with Notarianni, to post two multiple-goal games this season. Cunniff also had three game-winning goals.
Watkins also earned her First Team honors, the first of her four-year career. Watkins had a break-out season, leading the team with seven assists, a career-best, while also posting career highs in goals (2) and points (11), while her seven assists, and 0.41 assists per game, ranked fourth in the NEC. Watkins anchored a Quinnipiac defense that allowed the third fewest total goals (44) goals per game (2.57) in the NEC. In seven NEC games, the Quinnipiac defense held the opposition to just 10 goals. Watkins also handled penalty corner duties, setting up all five of the Bobcats' special teams goals.
Van Nostrand, who missed half of last season to injury, bounced back for her second All-NEC honor of her career with a Second Team bid after being named to the First Team in 2008. Already entrenched as one of the top defenders in the NEC, Van Nostrand posted career-highs in goals (3) and points (7). Van Nostrand was one of four Quinnipiac players, along with Cunniff, Notarianni and Jess Rusin, to score twice in a game after she did so against Yale on Sept. 5.
Notarianni and Zimniski both earned their first All-NEC honors as Second Team selections. Notarianni emerged as one of the top forwards in the NEC with career-and team-highs in goals (7), assists (3) and points (17). Notarianni was ninth in the NEC in points and points per game (1.00). She opened the season with her first career hat trick in the Bobcats' 4-1 win against Lehigh, earning NEC Player of the Week honors. Included in the three-goal performance were the two fastest goals scored in Quinnipiac history when she converted on back-to-back shots within 24 seconds. It was also the first hat trick by a Quinnipiac player since 2006, earning her Quinnipiac Athlete of the Month honors for August. Notarriani also scored against Northeastern and Robert Morris, before a two-goal performance in a 5-1 win against Siena to clinch the final spot in the NEC Tournament.
Zimniski served as the inserter on the Bobcats' penalty corner unit, setting up four of Quinnipiac's five goals to come out of special teams. Zimniski was second on the team to Watkins in total assists, with four, which were also a career high.
Quinnipiac is in action on Friday, Nov. 5 when they take on NEC top-ranked Rider at 1;30 p.m. in the second semifinal game of the Northeast Conference Field Hockey Championships in Lawrenceville, N.J.