Quinnipiac University Bobcats (0-0) at
University of Connecticut Huskies (2-1)
Wednesday, March 3, 2010 - 3 p.m.
Joseph J. Morrone Stadium - Storrs, Conn.
The Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team opens the 2010 season Wednesday afternoon against the University of Connecticut Huskies at 3 p.m. in Storrs. The Bobcats were scheduled to open their season on Friday afternoon against Fairfield, but the game was postponed until March 11 due to inclement weather conditions. The Bobcats are coming off their second straight Northeast Conference regular season championship in 2009 and their second appearance in the league title game in as many seasons. Quinnipiac enters the season as one of the favorites in the NEC to reach the postseason tournament and its third consecutive NEC Championship Game.
The Huskies have already played three games this season prior to welcoming the Bobcats to Storrs on Wednesday afternoon. After opening the season with a 10-goal loss to 2009 NCAA Tournament participant UMass, 18-8, on Feb. 20, the Huskies have won two straight games. UConn defeated Iona, 17-7, in its second game of the season before taking down Canisius, 13-5, in its most recent contest on Sunday afternoon. The Huskies have played all three games at home this year as the game with the Bobcats will mark the final matchup of a four-game homestand. Kiersten Tupper leads the team this season with 10 points on four goals and six assists, while M.E. Lapham has nine goals.
For the second year in a row, Quinnipiac's season opener was postponed due to weather. Last season, the Bobcats' opener with UConn was pushed back one day to accommodate for snow removal from the Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Complex. The Bobcats went on to defeat the Huskies 11-10 for the second win in as many years for the Bobcats over the Huskies.
The Bobcats were picked to finish third in the 2010 NEC Preseason Coaches' Poll. Quinnipiac received two first-place votes after earning a share of the regular season championship for the second straight year in 2009. The Bobcats set new program record for wins (13) and winning percentage in a season (.813) last year. Sacred Heart was picked first after winning its second straight NEC Championship.
Graduate student Katie Latonick (Severna Park, Md.) returns for the 2009 season after setting a new single-season program record for assists with 44 last year. Those 44 assists were good for second in the NEC, while her 54 points were seventh. Her one goal and eight assists during the two-game postseason, including a conference record five against Mount St. Mary's in the semifinals, earned her a spot on the NEC All-Tournament Team. Her performance against Mount St. Mary's and Sacred Heart also set the record for assists in one postseason. She now is fifth amongst active Division I players in career assists with 67 after finishing fourth in the nation last season.
The 2009 NEC Rookie of the Year Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, N.Y.) is one of the top young players in the league. The 2009 All-NEC Second Team member will be back for her sophomore season with the Bobcats after scoring 20 goals in her freshman campaign as well as collecting 19 draw controls and 22 ground balls.
After splitting much of last season with Hannah Nelson, sophomore Noelle Martello (Westbury, N.Y.) returns as the Bobcats' next most experience goalkeeper in 2010. Martello played in nine games, including making four starts in 2009, posting a 10.91 goals-against average and a 5-0 overall record. Junior Lexi DeStefano (Brookfield, Conn.) is also returning for her third season and will challenge Martello for time in net this season.
Last Season Ended...
The Bobcats lost the NEC Championship Game at Sacred Heart, 11-6, in late April. After the Bobcats and Pioneers shared the NEC regular season title for the second straight year with identical 7-1 records, Sacred Heart won the right to host the conference tournament by defeating Quinnipiac in the regular season meeting, 9-8.
Head Coach Danie Caro preaches a defensive style of play first. Last season, the Bobcats ranked 12th in the nation in scoring defense, allowing just 9.13 goals per game. Quinnipiac was also 16th amongst Division I teams in caused turnovers at 10.69 per game. Goalkeeper Hannah Nelson was one of the top players at her position in the country, finishing the season as the NCAA Statistical Champion in save percentage at .542, while ranking sixth in the country with a 8.41 goals-against average.
Junior Christine Sinnigen (Sudbury, Conn.) was one of three Quinnipiac players last season with multiple game-winning goals. Nicole Fiore led the team with three, while Ashley Valentine and Sinnigen each had two in 2009. Sinnigen is the only one of the three that is returning this year.
Sophomore Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.) is the top returning goal scorer from last season for Quinnipiac. Gibney scored 23 goals in 2009, while adding six assists for a freshman-best 29 points. She was named the NEC Co-Rookie of the Week on April 6 after recording four goals and two assists for six points against Mount St. Mary's in a 19-5 win. A week later she scored a career-high five goals at Robert Morris in a 12-11 double-overtime victory. Gibney was also second on the team in free-position goals with 10 in 15 games played.
The Bobcats will play 15 regular season games in 2010. Of those 15 contests, nine will come against NEC opponents, one more than in previous seasons with Bryant joining the league as a full-time member this season. After UConn, Quinnipiac has two more non-conference games against Brown and Fairfield before welcoming Bryant on Mar. 13 in the first NEC game of the season. The Bobcats take on Sacred Heart in the final regular season game of the year on April 17 in a rematch of the past two league title games at Campus Field in Fairfield.