Women's Lacrosse Drops Season's First NEC Contest; Nipped By Sacred Heart, 10-9

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HAMDEN, Conn. - Despite a game-high four assists from junior Sarah Allen (Glastonbury, Conn.), the Quinnipiac women's lacrosse team was unable to complete the comeback on Friday afternoon in Fairfield, Conn., as the squad was edged by Northeast Conference opponent Sacred Heart, 10-9. With the loss, first-place Quinnipiac drops its first NEC contest of the season and now stands at 6-1 in league play (7-5 overall), while the win improves Sacred Heart's conference record to 5-2 and its overall mark to 6-7.

"We played well enough to stay in the game, but we did not play well enough to win," said assistant coach Brittany Hauser.

The Pioneers' game-winning goal, scored with just six seconds remaining on a free position goal by Aurelie Pluijmakers, marred a day in which Allen became just the second player in Quinnipiac program-history to top the 100-career assist mark. She now has 102 career helpers, behind only Katie Latonick's ('10) 111 career assists.  

Quinnipiac's goals came off the sticks of junior Lianne Toomey (Hicksville, N.Y.) (three scores), senior Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, N.Y.) (two goals), Kyra Ochwat (Farmingdale, N.Y.) (two goals), sophomore Michaela Tinsley (Shrewsbury, Mass.) (one goal) and senior Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.) (one goal).

The two sides each totaled 14 ground balls, while the Bobcats held a slight shot advantage, 22-to-20. Sacred Heart played a very physical game and were oftentimes called on its over aggressiveness, as the fouls were 29-to-13.

Caroleo and Allen each finished with a team-high three ground balls, as four Bobcats had two draw controls apiece and three players finished with two caused turnovers.

Senior goalie Noelle Martello (Westbury, N.Y.) turned away seven shots in net for the Bobcats, while Kelly Kennan made a game-high 11 saves for the Pioneers.

The Pioneers were led offensively by Kelsey Russo's four goals, followed by Emily Pepe and Kate Kmiotek's two scores, and Pluijmakers and Taylor Babin's one score apiece.  

Quinnipiac got on the board first with Toomey's first goal just under two minutes into the contest, however the Pioneers netted two-straight to take the 2-1 lead after five minutes of play. Gibney broke a 10 minute scoreless drought with a goal with 15:39 remaining in the half, tying the score, 2-2.

After Sacred Heart netted a goal with 8:27 left to play, the Bobcats responded with a goal of their own 17 seconds later to re-tie the score, 3-3. Tinsley's free position goal with 4:31 remaining in the half gave the game its halftime score of 4-3.

Sacred Heart tied the score at four apiece early into the second half, however Caroleo's goal 34 second later gave the Bobcats the one goal lead once again at 5-4. The Pioneers added two tallies to take the 6-5 lead, but another Allen-to-Caroleo connection knotted the score at six apiece with 20:05 remaining in the game.

The Bobcats caught a break on its seventh goal, as an errant pass from Caroleo bounced directly to Toomey, who took a swipe at the bouncing ball and put it past Kennan. Sacred Heart proceeded to respond with three-straight scores of its own to re-take the lead, 9-7, with 14:44 remaining in the half.  

Ochwat, who made a key ground ball following a Gibney free position shot, dodged two defenders before snapping in a cross-handed shot, tightening the score to 9-8 with 14:17 remaining. She then tied the game for Quinnipiac with a crucial free position score with 4:21 left to play, however the Pioneers' final score with six seconds remaining ended the Bobcats' hopes of sending the game into an overtime frame.

Quinnipiac looks to respond when they host non-conference opponent Fairfield on Sunday, April 15 at 12 p.m. at Quinnipiac Lacrosse Turf Field in Hamden, Conn.

Contact: Ross Bennett, rsbennett@quinnipiac.edu