PROVIDENCE, R.I - Sophomore Furtuna Velaj (Stamford, Conn.) scored the lone Bobcat goal as the Quinnipiac University women's soccer team dropped their season opener, 3-1, to Providence Sunday afternoon. The Bobcats' record drops to 0-1, while the Friars improve to 3-1 on the season.
"We were excited to start the season against some very good competition," said Head Coach Dave Clarke "Providence played very well and we just weren't ready for that tempo yet. We created a lot of good scoring chances and will build upon our play today for our upcoming games."
The Friars opened up the scoring just over four minutes into the first half. Nicole Benko crossed the ball into the 18-yard box in front of midfielder Greta Houlihan who took a shot to the right corner of the net past Quinnipiac goalkeeper Kendra Margulies (Weston, Mass.).
The Bobcats held off the Friars offensive push for the remainder of the first half. Providence tallied 11 shots against Quinnipiac but was denied as Margulies made four saves in the half. The Bobcats offense saw a few chances to score, most notably when Velaj took a hard shot that hit off the post and out of the offensive territory.
Velaj wasted no time in the second, tying the game one minute into the half. The Bobcats set up for a direct kick 22-yards out on the left side of the field and Velaj sent it soaring into the upper right-hand corner for her first goal of the season.
The Friars responded in the 55th minute of play to put them back up 2-1. Jill Camburn crossed the ball from the left side where Alyssa Gillespie headed it from the top right of the box past Margulies for her first goal of the season. Camburn set up another scoring play for Providence just ten minutes later when she assisted Taylor Bartini to set the score at 3-1.
The Bobcats saw several scoring chances in the second half, but couldn't find the back of the net. The best opportunity in the second came when freshman Jillian Strassner (Avon, Conn.) connected for a strong shot on net, but Friars' goalkeeper Caitlin Walker came up with the save to keep the Bobcats from tying the score at two.
Margulies and Walker both played the full ninety minutes in goal and each finished the game with four saves apiece.
The Bobcats return to action Thursday, Sept. 10 when they take on Stony Brook at the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium at 7 p.m.