Senior forward Gretchen Kron’s game-winning header sends Quinnipiac women’s soccer to MAAC semifinals


Connor Lawless

Senior forward Gretchen Kron scored a header in the 67th minute of the MAAC quarterfinals to propel the Bobcats to victory over Marist.

Michael LaRocca, Staff Writer

The Quinnipiac women’s soccer team defeated the Marist Red Foxes 1-0 in the MAAC tournament quarterfinals on Sunday, advancing to the semifinal round..

With the game being Quinnipiac’s first taste of playoff sports since the spring, the crowd was ready to cheer on the Bobcats, hollering chants and shaking the stands as the game kicked off at 12:05 p.m.

The entire first half was a defensive slugfest for both teams as scoring opportunities were extremely difficult to come by. The best chance in the early going came in the 11th minute when a perfectly set-up shot from Quinnipiac sophomore forward Rebecca Cooke was saved by Marist senior goalkeeper Natalie Kelchner, whose redirect sent the ball just wide left of the net.

Despite the loss, Kelchner would be the game’s standout player for Marist, leading both teams in saves with seven, and putting her body on the line several times to break up Bobcat breakaways throughout the game’s 90 minutes.

The largest opportunity for the Bobcats in the first half came during the 38th minute when a foul on Quinnipiac senior midfielder Selena Salas in the goal area gave them a chance to score through a penalty kick. It would be to no avail however, as Salas’ shot missed the top right corner of the net.

Even with the miss, Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke was not concerned with his senior’s poise throughout the rest of the game.

“We’ve talked about this, if the game went to a penalty shootout and we had the last kick of the game to win it, we’d put her back up there,” Clarke said. “She’s young still, it might be in her head that she let the team down, but we won, and whether that was from her goal or other contribution, it doesn’t matter.”

The game would remain a defensive struggle for another 30 minutes before Salas would achieve her redemption. In the 67th minute, Salas fed the ball inside to Quinnipiac senior forward Gretchen Kron off a free kick, whose shot found the back of the net off the fingertips of Kelchner. The goal itself would be the second goal overall between the two teams in 171 minutes played against each other at that point in the season.

Salas was pleased to have the chance to bring herself back from her missed opportunity earlier in the game.

“I was asking myself why I did that, but then I figured that this was just a test to make myself mentally stronger,” Salas said. “I was able to come back and show the team that it doesn’t end right there and that we keep pushing until the end.”

The play would be the culmination of the time Salas and Kron spent together as Bobcats, and the weight of the situation was not lost on them.

“We’ve been together for four years and even during the last couple of practices we were working to do the exact same thing we did on the field today,” Kron said. “Honestly, it’s a great moment that we were able to share, and after four years I guess we’re just really proud of each other and also this team.”

The final 23 minutes of regulation would be the best game of keep-away that each Bobcat has played in their life, making sure the ball stayed in the Marist end of the field to keep their sophomore goalkeeper Sofia Lospinoso clean. Lospinoso would only face seven total shots on the day, saving all four that were on target.

Drama would not elude this match however, as Marist salvaged one final offensive attack in the 89th minute that was swiftly snuffed out by the Bobcat defense, writing an end to the 1-0 victory over the Red Foxes.

Quinnipiac will now look forward to the MAAC semifinals on Thursday, Nov. 4, at 1 p.m. It will face off against the No. 4 Siena Saints, who are coming off a 2-0 victory over the No. 5 Iona Gaels.

Even without knowing who his next opponent would be after the game, Clarke was extremely confident in his team’s ability to handle whatever comes next.

“We’ll play whoever we get to play,” Clarke said. “We’ll see as the games are going on, but we won’t walk into that trap. Whoever we’re playing — Niagara, Fairfield, Siena, Iona — it doesn’t matter.”