FAIRFIELD, Conn. - For the third year in a row, the Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team was defeated by Sacred Heart in the Northeast Conference Championship Game. The Pioneers' eight second-half goals pushed them past the Bobcats, 12-7, Sunday afternoon at Sacred Heart's Campus Field. The loss drops Quinnipiac's overall record this season to 10-7, while Sacred Heart heads into the NCAA Tournament with 14-4 overall record.
The teams played to a 4-4 tie through 30 minutes of play. Junior Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.) opened the scoring 1:20 into the game, before Sacred Heart's Jackie Pierce scored back-to-back goals to take the 2-1 lead. Katie Latonick (Severna Park, Md.) scored the Bobcats' next two tallies with Sacred Heart netting one in between. On her second goal, Pioneers' midfielder Kate Kmiotek passed the ball directly to Latonick in front of the net where she shot it high to the left corner past Chelsea Wagner in goal.
After 2010 NEC Player of the Year Carissa Hauser made it 4-3 on the free-position opportunity for Sacred Heart, senior Lyndsey Banach (Syracuse, N.Y.) tied the game with a free-position goal of her own with 4:35 remaining in the first period to even the score at 4-4 headed into the half.
Laura Iannotti (Rocky Point, N.Y.) scored Quinnipiac's first two goals of the second half to take the 6-5 lead with 24:53 remaining. That would be the last time the team would hold a lead in the game, however, as the Pioneers' 5-0 run over the next 13 and a half minutes put the game away.
Junior defender and 2010 NEC Defensive Player of the Year Kaitlyn Kelly (North Massapequa, N.Y.) scored her fifth goal of the season on a long run to goal with 3:32 on the clock. But, two more goals pushed the Sacred Heart lead to five, 12-7. That five-goal lead ties the largest scoring margin between the two teams in the last three seasons over six games played.
Sophomore Noelle Martello (Westbury, N.Y.) started her second game in a row, making three saves in nearly 52 minutes of play before being relieved in net by junior Lexi DeStefano (Brookfield, Conn.). Sacred Heart's Wagner made eight saves in the game and 22 on the weekend to earn the NEC Tournament Most Valuable Player award.
Kelly and Matuszczak along with sophomore Kim Davis (Darien, Conn.) were named to the 2010 NEC All-Tournament Team. It was the second year in a row that Matuszczak was honored for her play in the post season.
Sacred Heart's Wagner (MVP), Pierce, Farra Coppola, Carissa Hauser and Liz Drehwing also were named to the postseason team, while Mount's Lucy Pompa and Jackie Kearney and Monmouth's Carissa Franzi and Kirby Mundorf also received the honor for their play on Friday.