October 14, 2012

Field Hockey Stuns Rider On Senior Day; Zimniski, Lewis Lead Bobcats In 3-2 Thriller

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HAMDEN, Conn. – The Quinnipiac University field hockey team honored its senior class in the best way possible on Sunday afternoon, as the Bobcats handed Rider University a 3-2 loss on Senior Day at the QU Field Hockey Turf Field on Mount Carmel Campus. Prior to the whistle, head coach Becca Main and the Quinnipiac Department of Athletics and Recreation recognized seniors Nicole Lewis (East Amherst, N.Y.), Lauren Zimniski (Dallas, Pa.) and student-athletic trainer Jaime Mor for their dedication to the program.

Arguably the biggest win in program history, the triumph marks Quinnipiac's first win against Rider since the 2006 campaign. Furthermore, it ends Rider's winning-streak of 25 straight conference wins dating back to a 2-0 win over Monmouth on October 31, 2008. The result leaves both teams with a 9-5 record overall and 2-1 in league play.

"I think yesterday we decided that we have to get back to business; you have to go back and do work," said Main. "I think on Friday we all kept trying to do each other's jobs instead of just worrying about their own. So today you saw them do their own job. Lauren Zimniski scored her first career goal on Senior Day in the biggest game of her career and Nicole Lewis came up big, shot after shot, time and time again. It really has been a good weekend for us in terms of learning from Friday and coming into today."

Following Friday's game against Monmouth, head coach Becca Main stressed the importance of penalty corners for the Bobcats' offense. Her team certainly got the message, as Quinnipiac took an early 1-0 lead after capitalizing on a corner in the 12th minute of play. Junior Jennalise Taylor (Yardley, Pa.) fired the ball to the top of the circle, where fellow classmate Christa Romano (Madison, N.J.) found a wide-open Zimniski, 10-yards out from the right post. Zimniski made no mistake, blasting a shot past Rider's Joelle Prettyman for her first goal of the season.

Another aspect of the Bobcats' game that was improved from Friday was their defense. Led by Lewis, Quinnipiac fended off a potent attack and carried a 1-0 advantage into halftime. Lewis made three of her game-high 11 saves in the opening stanza.

After the break, the Bobcats needed just 37 seconds to find the back of the cage for a second time. This time, junior Jess Rusin (Garwood, N.J.) received a center pass from sophomore Danielle Allan (Riverdale, N.J.) and rattled the back of the cage with a powerful blast from 10-yards out. Rusin's eighth goal of the season moved her into seventh place all-time in the Quinnipiac record-books.

Rider answered with its first goal just one minute later, but a relentless Bobcats' squad went back on the attack soon after. Zimniski raced down the right sideline with the ball at her stick, where she was met by two Rider defenders. She alertly fired a pass to the center of the goalmouth, and found Kristin Engelke (Medford, N.J.) who slapped a shot past Rider's Alicia Carthan for a two-goal advantage. Engelke picked up her fourth goal of the season, but more importantly granted the Bobcats a 3-1 lead with 24 minutes remaining.

The Broncs pressed forward in the closing minutes and created several threatening chances. Up for the challenge however was senior-captain, Lewis, and the rest of the Bobcat defense. Behind eight second half saves and a spectacular defensive save from Cate Colucci (Gloucester, R.I.), Quinnipiac clung to its lead and escaped with their ninth win all-time over Rider. With the result, the Bobcats and the Broncs are now part of a four-way tie in the NEC standings.

The Bobcats are back in action with a pair of games in Pennsylvania next weekend. Quinnipiac takes on Robert Morris on Friday, October 19, before heading to Saint Francis (Pa.) on Sunday, October 21 Both games are scheduled for 1 p.m.

Quinnipiac fans should refer to the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com, for any schedule changes as well as the latest news, scores and highlights. The 2012 Quinnipiac Field Hockey Schedule will also be available for download at www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com for all mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, as well as all desktop computers.

Contact: Tony Distasio; ardistasio@quinnipiac.edu