FAIRFIELD, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team advanced to its third straight Northeast Conference Championship Game with an 8-4 win Friday afternoon against Monmouth in the league's semifinals. The Bobcats will play Sacred Heart for the title for the third year in a row after the Pioneers defeated Mount St. Mary's, 14-5, in the day's other semifinal matchup. The Bobcats improve to 10-6 this season with the win. Sunday's Championship Game will take place on Sacred Heart's Campus Field at 1 p.m.
All-NEC First Team member and junior midfielder Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.) scored two goals in the first two minutes of the game. Carissa Franzi responded with a goal to pull within one, 2-1, just over two minutes later. But freshman Lianne Toomey (Hicksville, N.Y.) and Matuszczak scored two goals over the next 10 minutes to put the Bobcats up three, 4-1.
After Franzi and Molly O'Brien made it a one-goal game, 4-3, 2010 All-NEC First Team member and team captain Katie Latonick (Severna Park, Md.) scored consecutive goals in the final five minutes to take a 6-3 lead into halftime. The Bobcats' leading point scorer posted five in the first half as she netted two and assisted on three others.
The second half started off slow for both teams. The period's first goal came almost midway through the stanza from All-NEC First Team player Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.). The goal was the sophomore's team-leading 39th of the season.
Monmouth's lone goal came from Perry Dewitt 2:01 minutes later. Finally, with just under six minutes remaining in the game, Toomey's second of the game and 14th goal of the season gave the Bobcats an 8-4 lead. The final goal of the game came on the free-position, only the second of the contest for either team.
Making her first start since Mar. 24 and just her second against an NEC opponent this season, sophomore goalkeeper Noelle Martello (Westbury, N.Y.) was one of the Bobcats' best player. She made a career-high 16 saves in her first appearance since playing 16 minutes against Wagner on April 7. Routinely, Martello turned aside Monmouth shooters on Friday afternoon, while also holding them to an 0-for-4 mark on the free-position opportunity.
Junior Kaitlyn Kelly (North Massapequa, N.Y.), the 2010 NEC Defensive Player of the Year, collected two ground balls and possessed two draw controls in the win. Gibney also contributed at the defensive end of the field, causing a game-high three turnovers against the Hawks.