HAMDEN, Conn. The Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team fell to Northeast Conference opponent Sacred Heart, 9-8, at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Field. Senior co-captain Ashley Valentine (Friendship, Md.) scored three goals and freshman Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, N.Y.) netted two as the Bobcats fall to 1-1 in NEC play and 4-2 overall with the loss. The win improves the Pioneers' mark to 1-0 in conference and 2-5 overall.
"We worked really hard, but we didn't execute when it counted," said Head Coach Danie Caro. "Now we have to regroup and focus on making the adjustments we need to make to play better moving forward."
Quinnipiac jumped out to a 3-0 lead six and a half minutes into the game on two Valentine goals and another from Caroleo. Sacred Heart's Alicia Fuchs scored the team's first goal on its first shot of the game 13:18 into the half. The Pioneers scored again to cut the lead to one, 3-2, three minutes later on a goal from Amanda Williams.
After Quinnipiac freshman Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.) scored her seventh goal of the season, Caroleo scored her second of the game to give the Bobcats a three-goal advantage, 5-2. Sacred Heart would pull even at the half, 5-5, ending the period on a 3-0 run over the final 8:52. Fuchs, Kate Kmiotek and Mary Montesarchio all netted tallies in the final minutes of the opening half to tie the game for the Pioneers.
Senior co-captain Tiffany Manzi (Feeding Hills, Mass.) and Valentine opened the second half with two quick goals for the Bobcats. Manzi scored her lone goal of the game on a free-position shot 3:20 into the half to build the lead back to two, 7-5, after being fouled at the top right corner of the eight-meter arc.
Montesarchio scored two goals three minutes apart, followed by goals from Williams and Fuchs to give the Pioneers a 9-7 lead. Fiore netted the Bobcats' eighth goal of the game, fighting through the Sacred Heart defense and firing a shot past goalkeeper Chelsea Wagner. That would be as close as Quinnipiac would come as the Pioneers held the ball for the final minutes to seal the 9-8 victory.
Freshman Noelle Martello (Westbury, N.Y.) started the game in goal for the Bobcats, making one save, before being relieved by junior Hannah Nelson (Glastonbury, Conn.) to start the second half. Nelson made three saves in the final 30 minutes of play, while Wagner turned aside 14 Quinnipiac shots in earning the win for Sacred Heart.
Valentine finished the game with three goals and assist for three points, while adding three ground balls, four caused turnovers and a draw control for the Bobcats. Senior defender Erin Coffey (Huntington, N.Y.) had a game-high four ground balls, while also causing two turnovers.
Quinnipiac returns to action on Sunday, Mar. 29 when it hosts Long Island. The Bobcats and Blackbirds are set to square off at noon.