Quinnipiac head coach Danie Caro told her players Sunday that they need to play a full 60-minute lacrosse game to be successful.
“We need to start the game on a more positive note and not dig a hole,” Caro said. “Late in the game there was fatigue.”
She’ll need to reiterate that message for the Bobcats when they play their next home game March 8 against Brown.
The Bobcats fell into a six-goal deficit early in the game and were held scoreless over a 19-minute span in the second half, losing to the University of Connecticut 17-12 at Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Field.
The Bobcats, who were playing without reigning Northeast Conference Defensive Player of the Year Kaitlyn Kelly, dug themselves into an early 8-2 hole in the first 15 minutes on goals by five different Huskies.
“We were pretty awful the first few minutes of the game,” Caro said. “We’ve had a bit of a challenge mentally of not getting down on ourselves when we make mistakes early on, and today, obviously, we got off to a slow start and we let them get out too deep.”
After being outscored 12-2 in their first game against Fairfield, the Bobcats (0-2) scored five goals within the first seven minutes, three scored by Lexi DeStefano, who was subbed out for Noelle Martello after allowing UConn’s Lauren Kahn to score with 26:05 left in the first.
Kahn and Lauren Sparks each scored two goals in the first 15 minutes and combined for seven goals, while Kacey Pippitt and M.E. Lapham each scored three goals for UConn (3-0).
The Huskies outshot the Bobcats 40-27 in the game and took 23 shots in the first half alone. UConn also forced 25 Bobcat turnovers and recorded nine more draw controls than the Bobcats.
“They did a real nice job of staying poised down the stretch. I give them a lot of credit, they’re a tough team,” Caro said. “I’m happy that our team competed, but we just need a little bit more in terms of execution.”
Quinnipiac went on a quick 4-0 run capped by Marissa Caroleo’s goal with 11:53 left in the frame after Caro called a timeout to make it 8-6, but the Huskies followed with their own 3-0 run on Pippitt’s second goal with 4:49 left in the first.
QU went on a 5-1 run overlapping both halves, including goals by Lauren Matuszczak and Michaela Tinsley to cut the halftime deficit to 11-8.
Matuszczak, Tinsley and Caroleo each recorded three points in the game for the Bobcats, while Devon Gibney and Laura Iannotti had two.
Jennifer Skipper’s unassisted goal with 21:02 left made the score 12-11 UConn, but the Bobcats failed to put the ball behind Brittany Testa, who finished with 11 saves. The Huskies outscored the Bobcats 5-1 the rest of the way.
“Late in the game we were trying to press and make some things happen, and it ended up letting them extend their lead a little bit,” Caro said.
Though the Bobcats were playing with a banged up midfield, according to Caro, their fitness remains something they need to work on.
“My assistant coach is going to be all over them this week about fitness so we can play for 60 minutes and not run out of gas at the end,” Caro said. “Getting in shape and being able to make smarter decisions are easy to fix, and if we get healthy I think that will help too.”