No. 2 Quinnipiac University Bobcats (12-2, 7-1 NEC) vs.
No. 3 Mount St. Mary's University Mountaineers (6-10, 6-2 NEC)
Friday, April 24, 2009 2:30 p.m.
Campus Field Fairfield, Conn.
The Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team begins play in its sixth consecutive Northeast Conference Tournament on Friday at 2:30 p.m., at Sacred Heart's Campus Field in Fairfield, Conn. The Bobcats square off against Mount St. Mary's in the semifinals for the second year in a row. Last season, Quinnipiac won its first ever postseason game, 12-11, against the Mount in Hamden. Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart each claimed a share of the 2009 NEC Regular-Season Championship after both teams posted 7-1 conference records. The Mount had an opportunity to also claim a share of the regular-season title, but a loss on the final day of the season gave the Bobcats and the Pioneers the crown.
Scouting the Mount
Mount St. Mary's finished the regular season with a 6-10 mark with all six wins coming against NEC opponents. In the April 5 meeting between the Bobcats and the Mountaineers, Quinnipiac's offense was relentless in a 19-5 win. The Mount entered the game a perfect 4-0 in conference play before the 14-goal loss to the Bobcats. This season, the team is led by Katelyn Catanese and her 49 points. Catanese finished the season with a team-leading 42 goals, while Breanna Waraksa's 25 assists were 18 more than any other Mountaineers player. Brigid McTavish was the goalkeeper of record in all but one game this season, posting a goals-against average of 12.62 and a save percentage of .409.
Friday's game can be heard on the WQAQ webstream. Corey Hersch and Miles McQuiggan will handle the play-by-play duties from Fairfield. The game can be seen on Sacred Heart's videostream and live stats are also available. All can be activated by clicking the appropriate links above.
Leaders of the Pack
The Bobcats are the league leaders in goals per game (14.29), points per game (21.57), shooting percentage (.485), goals-against average (8.90) and fewest turnovers per game (14.71). Quinnipiac also ranks in the top three in several other major statistical categories in the NEC. Quinnipiac finished the season with the fifth best winning percentage (.857) in Division I and tied for the sixth most wins (12).
Senior Tiffany Manzi (Agawam, Mass.) was named the NEC Defensive Player of the Week for the first time this season. Her individual accolade was the seventh of the season for the Bobcats and the team's second weekly award for top defensive player. Quinnipiac's win on Sunday at Monmouth also marked the 12th of the season and the eighth in a row, both single-season program records.
Ending the Season Strongly
Senior Ashley Valentine (Friendship, Md.) powered the Bobcats to three more wins in the final week of the season. She netted a hat trick against Ivy League opponent Brown on Tuesday and followed that performance with a career day against Wagner on Senior Day. Valentine scored a career-high six goals and seven points in the victory, securing the team's sixth-straight NEC Tournament berth. Valentine scored twice, including the eventual game winner, while adding four ground balls and three draw controls at Monmouth.
The duo of Valentine and Nicole Fiore (Monroe, Conn.) are third and fourth, respectively, in the NEC in goals per game. Valentine, who missed a game earlier this season, is averaging 2.92 goals in 13 games played this season, while Fiore, in 14 contest, is averaging 2.71.
Setting the Bar
Junior Katie Latonick (Severna Park, Md.) set a new Quinnipiac single-season record for assists this year. Latonick finished the season with 36 helpers, eclipsing the previous mark of 30, set by Christy Smallman in 2004.
Fiore's goal at Monmouth was the 100th of her career. The senior attacker joins Manzi and Valentine as the members of the team to score their 100th-career goal this season. Manzi leads the way with 111, while Valentine has 107 in her four years.
Leading From The Back
Senior goalkeeper Hannah Nelson (Glastonbury, Conn.) was last season's NEC Defensive Player of the Year. This season, she led the conference with an 8.03 goals-against average and a save percentage of .561.
The Bobcats' final game of the season was the most dominant defensive performance of the year. Allowing a season-low four goals against, Nelson turned aside eight of the just 12 Monmouth shots that were put on net in the game.
How They Did
Quinnipiac posted a 2-1 mark against the three other teams in the NEC Tournament. The Bobcats defeated semifinal opponent Mount St. Mary's, 19-5, on April 5 and Monmouth, 7-4, on the final day of the season. The Bobcats' lone loss came against Sacred Heart, 9-8, in Hamden on March 22. That defeat was the last of the season for the team as they won eight-straight games to end the regular season.
Last Time At Campus Field
The last time the Bobcats played a game at Sacred Heart's Campus Field was April 11 of last season. A Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.) free-position goal with 4:37 remaining in the game gave the Bobcats a 10-9 win. It was the only conference loss of the season for the Pioneers who finished tied with the Bobcats with 7-1 NEC records in 2009.