Seven seniors took the field Sunday afternoon to celebrate Senior Day in the women’s lacrosse team’s final home game of the regular season. Five seniors contributed points towards the Bobcats’ season-high 21-7 win over Northeast Conference opponent Long Island University.
“Because it’s senior day, everyone came out really hard and was really excited, especially us seniors,” Kaitlyn Kelly said. “There’re seven of us, and we’ve been together since freshman year so we were all really excited to come out and play together. From the beginning, we’ve been trying to focus on coming out hard and not letting up, so that was the thinking plan, and we followed through pretty nicely.”
Lauren Matuszczak (2), Laura Iannotti (1), Christine Sinnegen (2), Kelly (1) and Jennifer Skipper (1) all scored in the final regular season home game of their collegiate careers.
Senior goaltender Lexi DeStefano made four saves and allowed six goals in her third start of the season.
“We’re all so close and we’ve been through so much from the very beginning of our freshman year to our senior year,” Kelly said. “It was kind of emotional in the beginning but we’re all really excited, and hopefully we can finish up our ultimate goal, which is to win the NEC Championship.”
The Bobcats, who are now No.1 in the NEC, have made it to the NEC Championship game the past three years, but have been unable to defeat Sacred Heart, whose current standing is sixth.
To get to the championship game, Quinnipiac has two more regular season games to go against Mount St. Mary’s Thursday and Monmouth on Saturday.
“We’re just trying to play one game at a time, focus on us and not on our opponent,” Quinnipiac head coach Danie Caro said. “We don’t care who we play. We have a game plan of what we want to do with Quinnipiac lacrosse, and if we execute our game plan, I’m confident we can compete with anybody in the league.”
With seven seniors graduating next month, Caro looks to the underclassmen to take control of the team.
“Every year seniors graduate, and every year at the end of the year, we go ‘oh my God, how are we going to survive without those seniors,’” Caro said. “But when you have a strong senior class, it really seems like some people that could step up didn’t have to because of the seniors, so I think when they leave, we’ll see some of our younger players—Chelsea Guerrera, Kiera Carey, Sarah Allen—some of those players I think are really going to step up for us next year.”
Some underclassmen have already started to step up, with juniors Marissa Caroleo and Devon Gibney scoring six goals each, and junior goalie Noelle Martello making seven saves and allowing one goal Sunday.
“From the beginning of the season we knew that it was probably going to come down to these [last] two games to determine where we are in the standings,” Kelly said. “It’s really important during practice that we keep coming out hard and that we keep the momentum, because that’s something that we kept doing during Wagner and LIU, not letting up, so that’s what we’re going to definitely work on.”