Quinnipiac loses MAAC Championship to Monmouth 1-0

Hawks net game-winner with less than five minutes left in the game

Peter Piekarski, Associate Sports Editor

A tough pill to swallow for the Quinnipiac Bobcats as they entered the championship game as the top seed in the MAAC but dropped a 1-0 nail-biter on home turf.

Sophomore forward Julian Gomez was Monmouth’s best player all match, battling his way up and down the field while securing the late goal for the Hawks.

Morgan Tencza

The game-winner came when a deflected ball off of a Quinnipiac defender landed right in Gomez’s wheelhouse, and he didn’t miss the chance to secure the win.

“First and foremost, congratulations to Monmouth on capturing the championship,” Quinnipiac head coach Eric Da Costa said. “For them to go the path they went and have the opportunity to win and move on and represent the league, they should be proud of themselves.”

For a team that averaged just under six shots on goal per game, the Bobcats’ execution today was virtually nonexistent. Only one shot reached the goal.

Despite having eight corner kicks and several free kicks, Quinnipiac failed to produce more than a single shot on goal. Monmouth handicapped Quinnipiac’s ability to finish all match long.

Notably, the physicality of the game continuously ramped up as the match prolonged, and the referee allowed play to continue on many occasions that could have been labeled a foul.

It was a tight game all the way through, with several high danger scoring chances for both sides.

Senior goalkeeper Jared Mazzola was a star all game, bailing out the Bobcats’ defense on multiple occasions during a counter-attack.

In particular, Mazzola made a save on a sliding shot from Gomez right at the goal line just under 23 minutes remaining in the match. Just a few minutes later, Mazzola one-upped his previous save as he denied Ben Zakowski on a breakaway as the sophomore forward tried to chip it over Mazzola’s head.

At the other end, it was a different story. Monmouth did an excellent job limiting Quinnipiac to the outside and forcing long-distance shots, most of which were blocked before ever reaching redshirt junior Sean Murray in net.

“Our guys were absolutely phenomenal all year, including in this game,” Da Costa said. “We had opportunities to score some goals and have a chance to win the match and move on. It just didn’t fall for us today. A lot of really timely blocks on (Monmouth’s) part on some clear-cut chances that prevented the ball from going in.”

Morgan Tencza

Quinnipiac failed to convert corners and free kicks, as well as multiple possessions in which it completely dominated in the offensive third but just couldn’t find a way to get the ball on net.

Despite this, the Bobcats dominated possession and generated a lot of chances on offense. Failing to execute the well-formed attacks was ultimately the dagger in such a successful season. 

“Our guys need to hold their heads up high,” Da Costa said. “It’s an extremely difficult season that we had to endure, for us to make the sacrifices that we did and be able to come together as a group and have some success throughout the entire season and have the opportunity to win a championship today is something they should be proud of.”