The Quinnipiac University field hockey team stunned No. 19 Hofstra on Sept. 20, with a 5-3 victory at home. The victory improved the Bobcats’ record to 2-4, while the Pride fell to 5-3 for the season.
Hofstra came into the game with the upper hand and the Bobcats rose to the challenge to deliver the upset. Head coach Becca Kohli had faith in her team and knew it would step up its game.
“We had the benefit of seeing them play a few times before, plus we haven’t had a game in awhile so we had lots of practice,” she said.
One of Hofstra’s strengths is its speed, which it used to its advantage. Hofstra dominated the field of play early on as it was able to trap the ball inside Quinnipiac’s end of the field. This led to many early scoring chances for the Pride, but the Bobcat defense held firm. Quinnipiac junior Ann Marie Mangano knew that controlling the tempo of the game was the only way to eliminate Hofstra’s speed.
“We had to match their speed and use the whole field; we had to beat them to the balls,” Mangano said.
“We didn’t let them have free space in the middle of the field,” Kohli added.
As the first half went on, the Bobcats started to put more pressure on the Pride defense, and at 26:43 their defense finally cracked. Sophomore Lauren Kuchmak attacked the net and scored the first goal of the game.
The Bobcats defense did a good job at not letting the Pride set up its offense, but eventually the speed of Hofstra broke through. At 11:03, Hofstra tied the game. Toward the end of the first half, Hofstra put relentless pressure on the Bobcat defense and Quinnipiac goalie Jenna Grossman had to make a handful of difficult saves to keep Quinnipiac in the game. However, Hofstra was able to get one through and take a 2-1 lead. Even with the two quick goals, Kohli was most impressed with the performance of her goalie throughout the entire game.
“Jenna was very impressive; she put on a clinic today,” Kohli said.
Quinnipiac was able to put together a late offensive rush and with time running down in the first half, Hofstra failed to clear the ball which allowed Megan Sciascia to tie the game. The first half ended with the score tied at two.
The second half began with Quinnipiac on the attack and Hofstra used the Bobcats’ overaggressive play to their advantage. Hofstra scored at 31:07 and took a 3-2 lead. The Bobcats would not give up and responded quickly with a goal at 26:51 as Mangano scored on a rush to tie the game again. Mangano knew the importance of not letting Hofstra get too far ahead.
“It was important for us not to get down after a goal; after we scored we built off that positive energy and used it for momentum,” she said. Mangano was not done scoring either. Five minutes later she scored her second of the game to give the Bobcats a 4-3 lead.
After the game, Kohli joked about Mangano’s scoring dry spell.
“We call Ann ‘Jinx’ because she hasn’t scored yet,” she said. “We have put pressure on her to finish better and she did today.”
The Bobcats added one more goal to cap the victory over the Pride.
“It feels good to beat a ranked team,” Kuchmak said. “I knew we could do it, we just had to play a solid 70 minutes and not just one half.”