Rebecca Cooke’s game-winner in double overtime over Marist improves Bobcats to 7-2

Toyloy Brown III, Managing Editor

Quinnipiac women’s soccer won a 1-0 double-overtime thriller against Marist after sophomore forward Rebecca Cooke drilled a game-winning breakaway goal in the 104th minute.

Sophomore forward Rebecca Cooke scored her eighth goal of the season against Marist (Peyton McKenzie/Chronicle)

Improving to a 7-2 record and earning a second consecutive win against a MAAC opponent will be what the Bobcats cherish most. But next up in significance is Cooke, their leading goal scorer, getting back on track with a goal after a three-game drought without one. 

Cooke started the season ablaze scoring six goals in the first three games, passing her total of four in the eight games Quinnipiac played last season. But entering the game against Marist, she only scored once since Sept. 12.

“I’m really happy that Rebecca was able to score again because she hasn’t been able to score in the last few games,” said Selena Salas, a senior midfielder, who assisted Cooke on the goal. “I think that’s good for her because it’s gonna boost her confidence again, and we need her to keep scoring goals for us.”

Cooke’s clutch score was eerily similar to the game-winner she hit last season against Fairfield in overtime in the MAAC tournament.

Before the Bobcats’ exciting finish, the match was scoreless through 90 minutes and a 10-minute first overtime period. The game was littered with miscues on near scores, three yellow cards and 31 fouls between the two teams, a missed penalty kick in the first period of overtime and some impressive goalkeeping by Marist senior goalkeeper Natalie Kelchner who had eight saves. That total was the third most saves she’s had this season against the second most shots she’s faced, 19. 

No save was more crucial than the one Kelchner had in the first overtime period on Salas’ penalty kick due to a foul from Marist junior forward Leah Barbieri. On the penalty kick, Salas gave a bit of a stutter step before shooting toward the left side of the net, but Kelchner anticipated correctly and knocked it away with both hands. 

Salas said that while preparing to kick, the goalie attempted to get in her head by “screaming” while she tried to keep her composure. Salas, Quinnipiac’s assist leader, also said she practiced for this situation yesterday, so she knew where to place the ball. Before this penalty kick, Salas had converted on all four penalty kicks she attempted this season.

“I should have probably (taken) a little bit more time, maybe an extra breath and I would have thrown the keeper off a little bit,” Salas said. “I think that (a missed penalty kick) was going to happen at some point, so better that happened early in the season so that I can keep practicing and make sure that next one is going in.”

Quinnipiac women’s soccer head coach Dave Clarke praised Marist’s Kelchner, a former player he coached in high school, for the overall game she played and the save she had against Salas.

“She’s a very, very good keeper, she’s all about passion, she’s all about emotion,” Clarke said. “She winds up the opposition, she did that. It was a great penalty save, almost won them the game or kept them in the game. So you got to give credit for that.”

The Bobcats had an aggressive opening few minutes on offense, earning four of their nine corner kicks by the 2:50 minute mark. 

The Bobcats and Red Foxes combined for 31 fouls and remained scoreless through 90 minutes and 10-minute overtime period. (Peyton McKenzie/Chronicle)

The Red Foxes’ offense stalled throughout — the team entered the match with seven goals, the same number as Cooke. Marist was called offsides five times, shot 12 fewer shots than Quinnipiac and had three shots on goal compared to the Bobcats’ nine. However, the Marist defense did not break until the second half of overtime.

Although Salas was unable to end the game earlier on the penalty kick, she was one of the primary reasons Quinnipiac stayed on the offensive end due to her playmaking ability, making decisive passes and leading her forwards to scoring positions. 

“The analogy I always use is … she’s a point guard,” Clarke said. “Salas is a perfectionist, doesn’t want to give away the ball, which means she’s trying to always play the exact perfect ball.”

Before playing this grind-it-out, double-overtime match, Quinnipiac returned from a four-game road trip and had just three days off in between. Clarke said that they have complained to the MAAC about the lack of a bye week and that even playing at home, Marist was at an advantage. 

Regardless, the Bobcats outlasted the Red Foxes — giving them their first conference loss —  in what Clarke describes as a “character win.”

“Character wins are where, it’s not going well, it’s not the ideal preparation, you haven’t got the game going your own way, you just find a way to win,” Clarke said.

Quinnipiac will be on the road again for its next game on Oct. 6 against Manhattan (6-2) who comes off a 1-0 win against Iona. The Jaspers will have a week’s rest by the time they play the Bobcats.