Velaj, Strassner And Cook Earn Weekly Awards From The Northeast ConferenceHAMDEN, Conn. - Three members of the Quinnipiac University women's soccer team swept the adidas/Northeast Conference weekly awards after two victories at home this past weekend. Sophomore forward Furtuna Velaj (Stamford, Conn.) was named Player of the Week, freshman midfielder Jillian Strassner (Avon, Conn.) was named Rookie of the Week and freshman goalkeeper Biz Cook (Appleton, Wis.) was named Defensive Player of the Week. This is the second time that Velaj has earned the Player of the Week honors this season, while Cook and Strassner were honored for the first time.
"We had a frustrating start to the season, but our results in the past 10 days and specifically this past weekend have jump started our season," said head coach Dave Clarke. "It is nice for Biz, Jill and Furtuna to be honored individually, but credit should go to the team as a whole for the level of their performance against LIU and Wagner. Hopefully we can continue to get results in our remaining games leading to further recognition for the team."
Velaj continues to be the top offensive contributor for the Bobcats this season, leading the team with 19 points (7 goals, 7 assists). The forward compiled six points this past weekend against Long Island and Wagner, recording one goal and four assists. In the 3-0 win against Long Island on Friday, Velaj assisted the first two goals to fellow sophomore Kristina Del Mistro (East Williston, N.Y.) and Strassner in the third and tenth minute of play. She boosted the Bobcat lead to 3-0 in the 69th minute of play when she took a hard shot across the goalmouth that ricocheted off an LIU defender into the net for the goal. In the 4-2 victory against Wagner on Sunday, Velaj dished out two more assists including a pass to senior Lindsay Oliveri (Waltham, Mass.) for her first career goal.
Strassner has proven herself to be a threat on the offensive line for Quinnipiac. The rookie also tallied six points on the weekend, scoring two goals and adding two assists. Against the Blackbirds, Strassner opened up the scoring in the third minute of play when she collected a loose ball inside the scorer's box and tapped it into the left corner for the goal. Strassner ignited the Bobcat offense in the game against the Seahawks, picking up her first two assists of the season and scoring the game's first goal, her fourth of the year. She again scored the first goal of the game for Quinnipiac when she connected with a header off a corner kick into the upper right corner of the net. Strassner ranks second on the team in points (10), goals (4) and assists (2).
Cook remains undefeated in goal for the Bobcats in her five appearances this season, earning her third shutout against Long Island on Friday. The rookie holds a 4-0-1 record this season and posts a .870 save percentage. Cook turned aside eight shots over the weekend, earning both wins in all 180 minutes of play.
The Bobcats return to action this Friday, Oct. 23, when they travel to Emmittsburg, Md. to take on Mount St. Mary's. The game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.