Quinnipiac field hockey comes up winless in three-game spring tournament

Milton Woolfenden, Staff Writer

After three games in the span of four hours, the Bobcats found themselves ending the day without a win. Fairfield showed that their eyes are set on another NEC championship in the fall. Bryant and Colgate, two programs that underperformed in the fall showed that they have the firepower to compete with the big-name programs.

Game 1: Fairfield (L 2-1)

The Bobcats beat Sacred Heart 5-3 in their only other spring game this year. (Daniel Passapera)

The Quinnipiac field hockey team’s Sunday tournament got off to a disappointing start, losing its opening game to Fairfield by a final of 2-1.

Off the opening faceoff, both teams played slow and had trouble connecting passes.

Just past the three-minute mark in the first half Stags freshman midfielder Agustina Casteluchi had a breakaway after intercepting an errant Bobcat pass. As Casteluchi wound up for a shot Bobcats freshman forward Lucia Pompeo made a desperation poke and knocked the ball out of play.

“They definitely were making us work for the ball,” junior midfielder Samantha Dugan said. “There’s a reason they won their conference in the fall, they’re a good team.”

While the teams started the games trading possessions, the Stags began dominating possession with about nine minutes to go in the half. Even if the Bobcats got the ball the Stags defense made it nearly impossible to get past midfield, not getting a shot off for over seven minutes.

With just over five minutes remaining until halftime Quinnipiac junior forward Stella Tegtmeier made a cross-field pass intended for fellow junior forward Josie Sweeney. Unfortunately, the pass missed Sweeney’s stick by less than a foot and the Bobcats came up empty.

Right off the opening faceoff of the second half, freshman forward Emilia Massarelli charged toward the Stags net. Even with several Stags around her Massarelli got a shot off, but Stags graduate student goalie Zoe Rosen stretched out and deflected the ball out of harm’s way.

The stalemate broke with three minutes left. As the Bobcats tried to gain possession Stags junior midfielder Page Lowry wristed a shot off of a penalty corner just under the glove of junior goaltender Mack Vorel, giving the Stags a 1-0 lead.

It took just under four minutes for the Bobcats to even the score, with Pompeo firing a shot from the slot up and over the glove of Rosen.

Off a Bobcats penalty corner, an awkward bounce gave the Stags a three-on-one opportunity into Quinnipiac’s’ zone. Luckily for the Bobcats, junior midfielder Gabby Herschell got her stick out and in a desperation dive redirected a Stags pass out of bounds.

“I’m still not sure how Gabby deflected that pass,” Dugan said. “I don’t think she even knows how she deflected that pass.”

With just over five minutes to go in the game, Casteluchi netted her second goal of the game giving the Stags a 2-1 lead.

Fairfield clogged the shooting lanes and as the horn sounded, the Bobcats found themselves starting the day off with a loss.

Game 2: Bryant (T 1-1)

The Bobcats were 3-12 entering the spring season. (Daniel Passapera)

After a back-and-forth game that saw few scoring opportunities, the Bobcats saw their second game of the tournament end in a 1-1 draw against Bryant.

Using their fresh legs, the Bulldogs went right to work from the faceoff. However, the Bobcats were already warmed up which forced the Bulldogs to work for quality shots.

Just past the four-minute mark in the half, it was once again Pompeo with the ball. Unfortunately, just like Fairfield, Bryant made it a priority to not allow easy shots.

With just over nine minutes remaining in the first half, the Bobcats were awarded a penalty corner but weren’t able to capitalize. Between their three games, the Bobcats went a combined 0-12 on penalty corners.

“It was poor execution on our part,” junior forward Julianna Cappello said. “You can practice them as much as you want but if you can’t execute during a game you’re not helping yourself.”

Entering the final five minutes of the half the Bobcats had four consecutive penalty corners. With a running clock, this took up nearly three minutes.

“That’s the thing these girls have to keep in their back on their heads about tournament play,” Quinnipiac head coach Becca Main said. “They can’t afford to waste time because that clock isn’t stopping.”

This left both teams with little time to organize themselves so both teams entered the second half still with goose eggs on the board.

Starting the second half the Bobcats were hungry for a goal, and Tegtmeier had a shot right in the slot swatted away by the glove of Rosen.

Even though the Bobcats had the early momentum it was the Bulldogs who broke the tie by way of freshman forward Abby Crowley. She wristed a shot right side top shelf just over three minutes into the half.

The Bobcats wouldn’t trail for long — similarly to the match against Fairfield — as just over a minute later Pompeo snuck a shot just past the right blocker of Rosen.

“Lucia is just one of the girls on this team who can score,” Cappello said. “We have a deep roster, and that’s something teams are going to have to account for in the fall.”

With just under six minutes left in the game, some pinpoint passing between Cappello, Sweeney and junior midfielder Rachel Papernik resulted in a shot by Sweeney that missed the left post by mere inches.

Even though the Bobcats earned four penalty corners in the last four minutes of the game they weren’t able to capitalize, leaving them still searching for their first win of the day after a 1-1 draw.

Game 3: Colgate (L 2-1)

Rain poured during the Bobcats’ final game of the day, a 2-1 loss against Colgate. (Daniel Passapera)

Playing in the rain adds another layer of difficulty and in their last game of the day, both Mother Nature and Colgate got the best of the Bobcats as they finished the day with another loss by the score of 2-1.

Off the opening faceoff, both teams had trouble getting their footing with several players slipping and falling on the wet turf.

Just before the four-minute mark in the first half, the Bobcats struck first with Massarelli getting her first goal and point of the tournament off assists from Sweeney and Pompeo.

“What’s there to say? All the teams today knew they had to pressure Emma,” Main said. “Luckily, we had other girls pick up the mantle and have some impressive performances.”

As the half continued it was clear that the rain and cold were starting to affect both teams. Players were moving slower, passes weren’t connecting and the facial expressions of players on both benches made it clear that they were ready to call it a day.

With five minutes to go until halftime, the Raiders evened the score as sophomore forward Aaliyah Linfoot shot the ball off the left post and in.

For the rest of the half, neither team could maintain possession. As the second half started both coaches rallied the teams.

“I could tell the girls were tired,” Main said. “I told them they had to give 100% if they wanted to finish the day off strong with a win.”

Both teams took their time on offense, playing a game of cat-and-mouse trying to get the other team to overcommit to open up the shooting lanes.

The Bobcats’ best chance in the half came with seven minutes remaining on the clock. Sweeney passed the ball to sophomore midfielder Micaela Grajales just to the right of the goal. Unfortunately, Grajales got under the ball and chipped it over the top of the net.

The teams continued trading possessions until with under three minutes remaining in the half Raiders sophomore forward Ella Corbett fired a shot toward Vorel. Although she made the initial save Vorel wasn’t able to control the rebound, allowing Corbett to pick up her own rebound and give the Raiders the go-ahead goal.

Try as they might, the Bobcats weren’t able to respond as they added another loss on the books, once again by the final of 2-1.

The Bobcats will be back in action at home on Saturday, April 9, against Holy Cross.