SMITHFIELD, R.I. - Freshman Maria Blois (Cheshire, Conn.) netted the game-winning goal with just 10 seconds remaining on Thursday night, as the Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team outlasted Bryant University, 16-15, at Bulldog Stadium in Smithfield, R.I. The Bobcats, now 1-1 in NEC play, received hat tricks from three different players, including a season high seven points from senior Sarah Allen (Glastonbury, Conn.)
"We're really proud of how hard the team played tonight. It was a great team effort for 60 minutes. They played together and they played to win, and that made all the difference," said head coach Danie Caro. "Bryant is a very good team and it was an exciting back and forth game. I think everyone knew that whichever team had the ball at the end would have the chance to win."
For the second time this year, Blois came through in the clutch to help Quinnipiac to a victory. With the score knotted at 15 apiece, Blois drew a free-position attempt with just 10 ticks left and found the back of the net to put the Bobcats in front, 16-15. Phoebe Laplante (New Bedford, Mass.) corralled the ensuing draw control and ran out the clock for the thrilling triumph.
"Maria's ability to score under pressure is remarkable for a freshmen," said Caro. "But even though she put the ball in the net, I give credit to our entire attack unit for having the patience to move the ball quickly with poise to find the open player and give us a chance to win."
Allen was outstanding for the Bobcats, scoring three goals and assisting on four others for a game high seven points. Michaela Tinsley (Shrewsbury, Mass.) and Lianne Toomey (Hicksville, N.Y.) joined Allen with three goals each, while Kyra Ochwat (Farmingdale, N.Y.) and Aileen Carey (Long Beach, N.Y.) finished with two goals and an assist. Sarah Ganio and Vicki Kuhn each had a goal.
"Sarah Allen really had a breakout game today. She's proven that she is more than 'just a feeder' and has become someone our opponents need to stop," said Caro.
Quinnipiac never had a lead of more than three goals as Bryant stood beside them down the stretch. Very evenly matched, the Bobcats and Bulldogs traded blows throughout the entire night. Quinnipiac garnered its largest lead of the game, 6-3, when Toomey scored her second goal of the game with four minutes left in the first half. However, Bryant pulled within one before the break with back-to-back tallies in the closing minutes.
Bryant battled back to tie the score three times in the second half, but Caro's resilient squad came through down the stretch. With 4:27 left in the game Bryant led the Bobcats, 15-14. Freshman Aileen Carey was able to tie it up before Blois' final shot to cap it off with10 seconds remaining. Quinnipiac has three one-goal wins thus far, all of which have featured a big goal very late in the contest.
Senior Lisa Vendel led Bryant with seven goals, with six coming in the second half. Kimberly Sniffen collected three goals while Lauren Descalzo and Morgan LaBarbera each had two apiece. Haley Bloom concluded the scoring for the hosting Bulldogs.
"Phoebe and Chelsea dominated the draw circle for us tonight, and they came up with several key possessions," said Caro.
Laplante led Quinnipiac with eight draw controls to hold a staggering, 22-11, edge in the category. With the extra possessions, the Bobcats placed 18 of 25 shots on target, proving to be too much for BU goalie Brianna Watt. Quinnipiac was also 3-of-4 on the free-position attempt.
Samantha Tilts (Port Washington, N.Y.) made three saves in net for the Bobcats. Watt turned aside two shots for the Bulldogs.
"This game was a huge turning point for the team," said Caro. "They played to win and they played together. We've been working towards that all season, so it was very rewarding to see their efforts pay off. The challenge for us will be to play that way in every game for the remainder of the season."
Quinnipiac will return to action as the Bobcats travel to New Britain, Conn. to take on intrastate foe Central Connecticut on Saturday, March 30. Opening draw is set for 1 p.m. on Arute Field on the CCSU Campus.
Quinnipiac fans should refer to the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com, for any schedule changes as well as the latest news, scores and highlights. The 2013 Quinnipiac Women's Lacrosse Schedule is available for download at www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com for all mobile devices, including iPhones and iPads, as well as all desktop computers.
Contact: Bethany Buckholz; firstname.lastname@example.org