Women's Soccer Hosts Robert Morris And Saint Francis (Pa.) This Weekend

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Friday, October 7, 2011 – 1 p.m.
Quinnipiac University vs. Robert Morris University
Quinnipiac Soccer Field – Hamden, Conn.

Sunday, October 9, 2011 – 12 p.m.
Quinnipiac University vs. Saint Francis (Pa.) University
Quinnipiac Soccer Field – Hamden, Conn.

Bobcats Host Two NEC Games This Weekend
The Quinnipiac women’s soccer team plays host to Northeast Conference opponents Robert Morris on Friday, Oct. 7 at 1 p.m. and Saint Francis (Pa.) on Sunday, Oct. 9 at 12 p.m. at the Quinnipiac Soccer Field. The Bobcats enter the weekend at 2-5-1 on the year and 1-1 in league action after defeating Fairleigh Dickinson, 4-2, in its most recent outing.

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Live stats and audio will be available and can be accessed by visiting the Official Website of Quinnipiac Athletics, www.QuinnipiacBobcats.com.

Scouting Robert Morris
Robert Morris enters Friday’s match-up at 7-4-1 on the year. The Colonials improved to 1-1 in NEC play after defeating Sacred Heart, 1-0, in double overtime on Sunday, Oct. 2. Senior midfielder Brianna Bell scored the game-winner on an assist from fellow classmate Jaimie Morra. Senior goalie Jessica Olin became the all-time leader at Saint Francis (Pa.) in wins (20) with the shutout over the Pioneers. Overall, senior forward Ayana Davis leads the Colonials with 16 points, seven goals, and two assists, while senior Rachel Sebbens has picked up 12 points, five goals and two assists this season. Bell leads the team in assists (3) and has tallied three goals. In addition, Olin has made 19 appearances, made 37 saves and allowed 10 goals in net for the Red Flash.

All-Time Against The Colonials
Quinnipiac leads the all-time series with Robert Morris, 9-2-1. The Bobcats are undefeated on their home turf at 6-0-1 with the Colonials. In its most recent meeting, Quinnipiac tied Robert Morris, 0-0, in two overtime periods on Oct. 17, 2010 at home.

Scouting Saint Francis (Pa.)
Saint Francis (Pa.) will face Central Connecticut State prior to playing Quinnipiac on Sunday. The Red Flash enter the weekend at 6-5 overall and stand undefeated in conference play, 2-0. Before falling to Penn, 3-0, in a non-conference game, Saint Francis (Pa.)   shut out NEC opponents Robert Morris, 1-0, and Sacred Heart, 2-0. Junior forward Tesa McKibben has dominated the team’s offense and currently leads the team with 17 points, seven goals and three assists. Fellow classmate Brianna Butcher has made 19 appearances in goal. The junior keeper has made 55 saves and posts an 1.27 goals-against average on the year.

All-Time Against The Red Flash
Quinnipiac leads the all-time series with Saint Francis (Pa.), 5-4-4. Last year, the Bobcats tied the Red Flash, 2-2, in a NEC Semifinal contest, but were eliminated from the Championship Tournament in penalty kicks. Quinnipiac also played at Saint Francis (Pa.) earlier in the season, when they lost, 3-0, on Oct. 15, 2010.

Last Time Out
In its most recent outing, Quinnipiac picked up its first conference win of the year at Fairleigh Dickinson, 4-2. Senior Furtuna Velaj led the team with two goals, while juniors Crystal Burns and Shauna Edwards each put away a goal for Quinnipiac. Sophomore defender Beck Kiting tallied two assists on the evening, while Edwards and senior Kristina Del Mistro each added a point in the match. The win was senior goalie Jill Kelley’s second victory of the year.

Recap At Sacred Heart
The Bobcats lost their first NEC contest of the year to Sacred Heart, 2-1, at the Pioneers’ home turf on Sept. 23. Quinnipiac’s Beck Kiting scored her second goal of the year on an assist from fellow defender Chelsea Smith. Senior goalie Jill Kelley matched the Pioneers’ keeper Sydney Judkins with two saves in net.

Notes From The NEC
Furtuna Velaj ranks seventh in the NEC in shots with 27 shots on the year and second in shots per game (3.38). The senior forward/midfielder also ranks fifth in points (11) and third in goals (5). Velaj is second amongst conference players in points per game (1.38) and goals per game (.62), while sophomore Beck Kiting ranks eighth in points per game (.86), with six points in seven games played. In addition, Kiting Shauna Edwards and Kemesha Woodfine are each in the 10th slot with two assists.

Saving Grace
Senior goalie Jill Kelley ranks sixth in the league in saves per game (4.25), after making 34 stops in eight games played. She also is tied in the sixth position with one shutout on the year.

On Fire
Junior transfer Crystal Burns scored her first goal as a Bobcat in the team’s 4-2 victory over Fairleigh Dickinson. Burns has appeared in each of Quinnipiac’s eight games this season.

Reaching For 100
Senior Furtuna Velaj currently posts 91 career points. Velaj has picked up 11 points this season, while she put up 19 points in her junior year. The forward also tallied 30 points in 2009 and 31 points as a freshman.

Featured Freshman
Freshman goalkeeper Tori Graessle saw action at Fairleigh Dickinson in her first appearance with the Bobcats.

ESPN.com Features Furtuna
Earlier this season, Furtuna Velaj was recognized in an article written by ESPN.com’s Graham Hays. The article features the Santa Clara University starting goalkeeper and 10 NCAA Division I women’s soccer players, whom hays feels will have a great potential to make an impact this season. Last year, Hays also wrote a feature, “From refugee to soccer star,” on Velaj’s journey from her native Kosovo to the United States, as well as her future aspirations in political science following her collegiate career. She was also named a top potential draft pick and one of the top collegiate women forwards in the country by www.AllWhiteKit.com.

NEC Preseason Coaches’ Poll
The Quinnipiac University women’s soccer team was picked to finish fifth out of 11 teams, in the 2011 Northeast Conference Preseason Coaches’ Poll. The Bobcats finished last season 7-7-4 overall and at 5-2-3 in conference play, which secured a spot for the Quinnipiac in the 2010 NEC Tournament.

Northeast Conference 2011 Women's Soccer Preseason Coaches’ Poll  
1.    Saint Francis (PA) (8)   
2.    Monmouth (2)
3.    Long Island
4.    Central Connecticut St. (1)
5.    Quinnipiac
6.    Sacred Heart
7.    Bryant
8.    Robert Morris
9.    Wagner
10.   Mount Saint Mary’s
11.   Fairleigh Dickinson
First place votes in parentheses ( ).

What’s Ahead for the Bobcats
The Bobcats continue play at the Quinnipiac Soccer Field when they host Long Island on Oct. 14 at 3 p.m. and Wagner on Oct. 16 at Noon. Quinnipiac will then travel to Monmouth on Oct. 21, Mount St. Mary’s on Oct. 23 and Central Connecticut State on Oct. 28, before hosting Bryant on Oct. 30 for the final game of the regular season.

Contact: Lindsay Oliveri, lmoliveri@quinnipiac.edu