The Quinnipiac women’s field hockey team experienced a huge upset Friday afternoon, losing its first game of the season to Sacred Heart, 5-0. Before the loss, the Bobcats were 5-0 in the NEC and 7-4 overall.
Quinnipiac started the second half with the ball, but it quickly went downhill for the Bobcats. Within the first five minutes, three shots were taken against Quinnipiac goalkeeper Erin McKay. Sacred Heart proved they were serious when senior Nicole Falco passed a corner hit to junior Colleen Carney. Carney passed it to junior Becky Ford, who at 30:27 scored the first goal of the game to give Sacred Heart a 1-0 lead. Ford leads her team in scoring with seven goals.
“I think we really came together well as a team today,” said Sacred Heart freshman Carissa Eye. “We were really intense this week in practices. Every day we were running hard, practicing hard and working together and it really showed today.”
After what the Bobcats hoped would tie the game at 28:45, a shot by red shirt junior forward Danielle Avenoso didn’t count because the ball hit the wood. Quinnipiac gained possession back and senior forward Kristen McCarthy had an open net in front of her, but was unsuccessful with her only shot of the game.
The Pioneers saw Quinnipiac’s desire and were ready to fight back. At 24:22, Eye scored off of an assist from freshman Melissa Mazin to put Sacred Heart in front 2-0. Quinnipiac saw its fleeting chances and called a time out at 22:05.
“We talked about [after the game] that today wasn’t a skill problem, or stick problem, or hand-eye coordination problem, it was mental preparation and mental toughness,” said Quinnipiac head coach Becca Kohli.
“Conference games are always fabulous for this reason. You can walk in and the more skilled team might not win, but whoever comes more prepared, who comes to take you out of the game can do it. I think Sacred Heart did a fabulous job taking their energy, turning it into something and then just really beating us at our own game.”
McCarthy took the ball down the field but was unable to take a shot after the ball went out of bounds. Her two unsuccessful penalty hits proved Quinnipiac’s frustration as the girls went on to miss three more shots in a row by red shirt sophomore Megan Dahle, senior Amy Cunniff and freshman Lauren Hartnett.
Sacred Heart was ready to attack and they scored three more goals in a 3:09 span. At 9:34, Sacred Heart moved up to 3-0 as freshman Amy Hendricks scored off sophomore Katie Bohren’s penalty corner.
Soon after, at 8:20, Carney scored an unassisted goal bringing the Pioneers up to 4-0. She took the lucky shot from the top of the circle and scored the goal because McKay was blocked.
Mazin scored the final goal against Quinnipiac with 6:28 left as the ball slowly rolled past McKay.
“We worked a lot [this week] with our forwards, carrying the ball and cutting the ball, to the insides of the field,” said Pioneer coach Christine Vargus. “Instead of entering from the bottom of the circle, we tried to enter from the bottom of the shooting box and I think it showed pretty good results.”