MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. - The Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team clinched a spot in 2010 Northeast Conference Tournament with a 12-8 win at Robert Morris' Joe Walton Stadium Friday afternoon. The win was the seventh in a row for the Bobcats who improve to 7-0 in NEC play and 8-4 overall. Robert Morris drops to 3-3 in league games and 5-7 overall. The seven conference wins ties the program's single-season mark set in each of the last two years with two NEC games still remaining in 2010.
"Our defense was really strong overall today, and Kaitlyn Kelly (North Massapequa, N.Y.), Brittany Hauser (East Northport, N.Y.), and Kelly Bruneau (Cheshire, Conn.) all turned in exceptional performances for us," head coach Danie Caro said. "Robert Morris is good team that came out fired up to play us, and to my players' credit, they responded to the challenge."
Sophomore Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.) scored her team's opening three goals over the course of the first 12 minutes of the game. Robert Morris scored two quick markers a minute and a half apart to tie the game, 3-3. Junior Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.) scored with 11:01 remaining to put the Bobcats up 4-3; a lead they would not relinquish the rest of the game. Gibney's fourth followed by a tally by the Colonials' Ali Gibbons made it a one-goal game at halftime, 5-4.
Quinnipiac started the second half with three straight tallies from Katie Latonick (Severna Park, Md.), Christine Sinnigen (Sudbury, Mass.) and Chelsea Guerrera (Wantagh, N.Y.). Freshman Sarah Allen (Glastonbury, Conn.) scored two of the next three Bobcat goals, with Guerrera getting her second of the game between the two Allen tallies.
Robert Morris looked as if they might have a comeback run in it, scoring two times in the final six minutes of play to pull within three at 11-8. However, the Quinnipiac attack did not give up, as Matuszczak took a feed from Guerrera and cut through two defenders to score the game's final goal with 14 seconds left to seal the victory, 12-8.
"We had some solid contributions from our younger players on attack today," Caro added. "Chelsea (Guerrera), Lianne Toomey (Hicksville, N.Y.) and Sarah (Allen) all stepped up and put points on the board for us. It was a good confidence boost for our team to see that we can score tough goals against a good goalkeeper and defense like we faced in RMU today."
Gibney finished with four goals and one assist for a game-high five points. The sophomore midfielder also collected two draw controls and three ground balls, while also causing a turnover. Kelly had game highs with four draw controls and three caused turnovers and also collected two ground balls. Hauser caused two turnovers and picked up three ground balls, while Toomey matched her career high with the two assists.
Junior Lexi DeStefano (Brookfield, Conn.) earned her sixth win of the season, improving to 6-0 overall. She turned aside six shots in the game. All of DeStefano's wins this season have come in NEC contests.
Quinnipiac continues its road trip through Western Pennsylvania Sunday afternoon when it travels to Loretto, Pa., to take on Saint Francis. The Bobcats and Red Flash are set to square off from DeGol field at 1 p.m.