Cooke doubles up again as Quinnipiac downs Fordham

Zack Hochberg, Staff Writer

HAMDEN, Conn – The Quinnipiac women’s soccer team won its second straight game as it defeated Fordham 3-1 on Wednesday in Hamden. 

Both sides got off to slow starts in the matinee matchup, with neither team able to string together any meaningful offensive opportunities in the first 20 minutes. 

The Bobcats picked up their energy from that point, and their efforts were rewarded with a goal in the 29th minute.

Junior midfielder Emely Van Der Vliet found sophomore midfielder Ella Gagno at the top of the box. Gagno then turned and fired a pass to wide-open junior forward Rebecca Cooke on the left side of the box, who sent a one-timer just out of the reach of the Rams’ goalie to give the Bobcats the lead.

“When I pick up the ball ahead of the 18-yard box I always know Rebecca or Courtney (Chochol) is gonna be there and I like to always find that gap ball in-between,” junior forward Olivia Kudrikow said.

The Bobcats’ stout defensive efforts kept Fordham away from scoring position for a majority of the first half, allowing Quinnipiac to head into halftime with a 1-0 lead. 

While the first half was slow and lacked any real sense of urgency, the second half was just the opposite, filled with energy and offensive firepower. 

The Bobcats got a phenomenal opportunity in the 69th minute when Kudrikow found herself wide open on a breakaway inside the box, but Fordham junior goalkeeper Serena Mensah denied the Bobcats a 2-0 lead as Kudrikow tried to sneak it in on the right side. 

The Rams took advantage of the Bobcats’ missed opportunity and tied the game up five minutes later. Freshman forward Natalie Velde took a pass from senior forward Caitlin Kennedy and fired it into the bottom right corner to tie the contest at one. 

Three minutes later, a shot from Kudrikow bounced off the crossbar and right to Cooke, who headed the ball into the back of the net for her second goal and a Quinnipiac lead. 

The Bobcats didn’t let up as they extended their advantage to two when freshman midfielder Madison Alves stole the ball deep in Fordham territory. Alves sprinted into the box before going far side into the bottom right corner for the first collegiate goal. 

“I’m just so excited. We’ve been working at it as a team for like two months now, so I think the persistence from everyone else really helped me generate that goal,” Alves said. “We work our tails off, so honestly, I give that goal to everyone else for helping me push myself.” 

The Bobcats have been working to put together a complete game, and even though they won, Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke still believes there’s work to be done. 

“I was happy with the result, not necessarily the overall performance,” Clarke said. “I think the reaction was better when we went 1-1, prefer not to. We knew it was one of those where we win because we have the players to sort of punish teams, but not necessarily play well, so we have a few things to tighten up, but that’s why you play non-conference games.”

Despite Clarke’s wishes for a more complete performance, the Bobcats are now 4-1 on the season and are living up to their preseason hype. 

Following today’s game, Quinnipiac will hit the road to take on Rhode Island on Sept. 11.