[media-credit id=2167 align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]Quinnipiac’s soccer, lacrosse and field hockey programs return to campus this fall with vastly improved field conditions, as two new turf fields are ready for action.
The Quinnipiac Field Hockey Turf Complex is the field nearest main campus and stands in the location of the old rugby field. While the complex itself is not 100-percent complete, the Bobcats played against the University of New Hampshire on Aug. 20 and will welcome fans to the home opener on Thursday, when the Bobcats host Northeastern.
The Quinnipiac Soccer and Lacrosse Turf Complex was built in place of the old field hockey and lacrosse turf. While this new complex also remains without a few crucial pieces for now, the Quinnipiac women’s soccer team welcomed Army West Point on Sunday for its home opener.
The new turf stadium is a project that has been long awaited for Quinnipiac athletes and the community at large, as a result of pending approval from the town of Hamden.
Student-athletes predict that the field will bring in more fans, overall awareness and spirited hype for the three teams that was missing from them in the past.
Kylie Lance, a redshirt sophomore defender/midfielder for Quinnipiac women’s soccer, looks forward to testing the teams’ abilities on the new surface.
“Passing and speed of play are better on turf, Lance said. “Hopefully more people will come to watch our games, and maybe this stadium will get us some better recruits.”
Although there is excitement for the new field, there is some uneasiness for women’s soccer players as well. After a successful season at home in 2016-17, Lance notes that there could be possible downsides to playing in a unfamiliar facility, after succeeding on the previous field.
“Despite the positives of the new turf field, we did go 8-0 last year on our grass field,” Lance said.
Both Quinnipiac men’s and women’s lacrosse teams are looking for bounce-back seasons on the new turf.
The Quinnipiac men’s lacrosse team in particular faced regression last season while playing home games at Reece Stadium at Yale, as they finished with an 0-5 record at home and 2-9 overall. This came one year after a 7-2 home record at home and NCAA Tournament berth while playing home games in Hamden.
The field, however, hopes to reshape the support around both lacrosse teams while also benefiting the athlete’s’ individual efforts, and team as a whole.
Men’s lacrosse junior midfielder Jack Hill is excited to compete and defend the new home field.
“I think the new stadium is huge for Quinnipiac University for recruiting and brings more fans in for the games,” Hill said. “But I also think the new stadium will have a dramatic, positive impact on the athletes’ ego. We finally have a home to protect, to be proud of.”
Hill also mentions that with this new field comes some pressure for the teams. With the men’s lacrosse team winning the MAAC Championship two years ago, that same bar is set for nothing less than another winning season.
“Quinnipiac lacrosse and soccer will be expected to produce more wins and championships moving forward,” Hill added. “[It’s] a great price to pay for having a brand-new home.”
Field hockey, along with both lacrosse teams, rejoins the Mount Carmel campus after a year of playing their home games at Yale University’s Johnson Field. The team was relegated to the New Haven stadium due to the construction of the new field last year.
In 2015, field hockey played on main campus, posting a 6-2 home record, despite finishing just 9-11 overall. Last year, playing in New Haven, they fell to 2-5 at home and 5-13 overall.
“It does take a lot of stress off the freshmen (not having to travel to New Haven),” senior fullback Lauren Belskie said. “I think this field will help us go very far (in the Big East).”
The new stadium comes a year after the field hockey team joined the Big East Conference. The stadium will help the Bobcats blend in with fellow Big East rivals to give the program a more “big time” feel.
“There’s a huge responsibility to show the university that putting in this field was a good idea and that it’s going to help elevate our programs as well as the other programs at Quinnipiac,” field hockey head coach Becca Main said.
The new stadiums join the TD Bank Sports Center as a step in the right direction for a program that is keen on becoming a major player in college athletics.