FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team fell to Sacred Heart, 9-5, in the final regular season game of 2010. With both teams entering the game 8-0 in Northeast Conference play, the Pioneers won the regular season title with the win and the No. 1 seed with the right to host the league's postseason tournament next weekend. The Bobcats earned the No. 2 seed and finished the year 9-6 overall.
Sacred Heart took the 1-0 lead nearly five minutes into game from Kate Kmiotek. Quinnipiac answered two minutes later on a goal from sophomore Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.). Gibney cut through the arc, splitting Pioneer defenders in the process before quickly slamming home a pass from Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.).
The Bobcats controlled the tempo of the game in the first 30 minutes of play, holding the ball on offensive for extended periods of time. A spin move from junior Laura Iannotti (Rocky Point, N.Y.) resulted in the second Quinnipiac goal and its first lead of the game, 2-1.
With just 10 seconds remaining in the opening period, Matuszczak made it 3-1 with a goal of her own. Jumping up and batting in a pass from freshman Lianne Toomey (Hicksville, N.Y.), the third-year Bobcat put her team up two headed into the half. Quinnipiac had held only one opponent to three or fewer goals in a half one time this season, not allowing Central Connecticut to find the back of the net in the second half of a 20-4 win on Mar. 24.
After senior defender Kelly Bruneau (Cheshire, Conn.) caused Sacred Heart to turn the ball over deep in the offensive zone, senior Brittany Hauser (East Northport, N.Y.) sprinted the entire length of the field and ripped a shot into the top left corner to give Quinnipiac to 4-2 lead with 19:08 remaining and the first tally of the second half.
Sacred Heart took the momentum back midway through the period with two straight goals to tie the game and another to take the lead, 5-4.
After sitting out much of the first half, team captain Katie Latonick (Severna Park, Md.) came back in the second to run the offense from behind the Pioneer net. Her pass to a streaking Gibney with 5:02 left set up the tying goal, 5-5.
Two Sacred Heart free-position goals in the final four minutes put Sacred Heart up 7-5. Alyssa Dorsey all but sealed the win for the Pioneers with a goal with 2:33 left on the clock. Kmiotek added another to make it 9-5.
Sacred Heart goalkeeper Chelsea Wagner made nine saves in the game to earn the win, while Quinnipiac's Lexi DeStefano (Brookfield, Conn.) made just three.
The Bobcats will play the No. 3 seed on Friday, April 23 in the second semifinal game of the 2010 NEC Tournament. Sacred Heart's Campus Field in Fairfield, Conn., will be the site of all three games over the entire weekend with the NEC Championship Game set for Sunday,