2010 Northeast Conference Tournament Championship Game
No. 2 Quinnipiac University Bobcats (10-6, 8-1 NEC) vs.
No. 1 Sacred Heart University Pioneers (13-4, 9-0 NEC)
Sunday, April 25, 2010 - 1:00 p.m.
Campus Field - Fairfield, Conn.
The Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team will meet a familiar foe Sunday in the 2010 Northeast Conference Championship Game as it takes on Sacred Heart for the third straight year in the league's title game. The championship tilt is set for 1 p.m., from Sacred Heart's Campus Field in Fairfield, Conn. The two top seeds in the NEC will meet for the third time in the last three years in the NEC Championship Game. More recently, this will be the second time the two teams have met in the last three games, having played the final game of the regular season against one another on April 17. The Pioneers defeated the Bobcats, 9-5, to earn the regular season title and the No. 1 seed.
Scouting the Pioneers
Sacred Heart earned a spot in their third straight NEC Championship with a 14-5 win over Mount St. Mary's in the first semifinal game Friday afternoon. Kaitlin Rochler led the Pioneers with four goals and one assist for a team-best five points. The 2010 NEC Player of the Year Carissa Hauser scored three times, while NEC Goalkeeper of the Year Chelsea Wagner made 14 saves in holding the Mount to just four goals in the game.
Against Monmouth, Quinnipiac junior fielder and All-NEC First Team member Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.) scored three goals, while fellow first teamer and team captain Katie Latonick (Severna Park, Md.) scored twice and had three assists for a game-high five points. Freshman Lianne Toomey (Hicksville, N.Y.) also scored twice in the game.
Story of the Win
The Bobcats' top player against the Hawks was sophomore goalkeeper Noelle Martello (Westbury, N.Y.). Her 16 saves were a new career high and the most by any of the four goalkeepers playing in the tournament on Friday. Stopping all four free-position shots Monmouth attempted, Martello was making her first start since mid March.
Sunday's NEC Championship between the Bobcats and Pioneers will mark just the second time in league history that the two same teams will meet in three consecutive championship contests. Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart met in 2008 in Hamden, and 2009 and now 2010 in Fairfield. Monmouth and UMBC actually met five times from 1998 to 2002, with UMBC taking four of the five NEC titles.
Fans can listen to the game via the WQAQ webstream, while the NEC will provide a free live video feed through NortheastConference.TV as well as live stats. All can be accessed by clicking the appropriate links above.
They Got Here
The Bobcats earned the No. 2 seed by virtue of an 8-1 NEC record this season. Quinnipiac and Sacred Heart played the final regular season game of 2010 on last Saturday night in Fairfield. Both teams entered the game with identical 8-0 records and the regular season championship and the right to host the tournament on the line. The Pioneers' 9-5 victory sealed their third straight NEC Regular Season Championship and the first not be shared with the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac is 22-3 in NEC play over the course of the last three seasons. In 2008 and 2009, the Bobcats posted back-to-back seasons of 7-1 marks in NEC, only to best that figure by one win this season with the inclusion of Bryant in the league schedule, going 8-1 in conference games in 2010.
Quinnipiac entered its seventh consecutive NEC Tournament on Friday. In eight overall appearances in the league's postseason, the Bobcats are 3-7. Those three wins have come in the semifinals in each of the last two seasons as well as this year's tournament. Prior to Friday, both previous semifinal victories came against Mount St. Mary's. Quinnipiac previously had only played Monmouth in the postseason twice, losing in the semifinals in 2004 and 2005. Current Monmouth head coach Denise Wescott was the head coach of the Mount each of the last two seasons. She has been eliminated from the NEC semifinals three years in a row by the Bobcats while coaching at two different schools.