Quinnipiac field hockey at crossroads heading into crucial mid-season stretch


Peyton McKenzie

Quinnipiac field hockey is 4-5 on the season with 10 regular season contests left to play.

Michael LaRocca, Opinion Editor

When a team is in the middle of a rebuild, there is a crucial choice for them to make between two simple options. Does a team attempt to win as much as possible with what they have, or do they stay patient and let success come naturally? For Quinnipiac field hockey, the next two weeks will show us what decision it made. 

Currently sitting at 4-5, the Bobcats are in the midst of their best start to a season since 2018, and already surpassing their win totals from both 2020 and 2021. However, after back-to-back losses against No. 13 Old Dominion and Towson this past weekend, the team is in a rough spot heading into what might be its toughest stretch of the season. 

The next four games the Bobcats are scheduled to play are as follows: a road game against No. 16 Liberty on Sept. 30, a road game against rival Yale on Oct. 2, a road game against No. 9 UConn on Oct. 7, and a home game against No. 12 St. Joseph’s on Oct. 9. 

This is a stretch that would concern even the mightiest of field hockey programs, but it’s Quinnipiac that will have to muster up the courage and fight through. 

When a team has a string of tough games in a row, most coaches will say they plan to take it one game at a time. But for the Bobcats, that mantra has taken physical form. 

“We just talked about our game day breakdown, we’re going to spend the next few days and work on our ARC and our DRC work, which means we’re working only inside the attacking (quarter of the field) and only in the defensive (quarter of the field),” associate head coach Montana Fleming said after the Towson game on Sept. 25. “Meaning we’re going to work on the areas and the places that we need to be better in, which will help us from game to game … but that’s also going to help us the rest of our season.”

The main problem for the Bobcats on the field is finding ways to finish off offensive opportunities when they are handed to them, as well as thwarting opportunities from other teams when they appear, especially during penalty corners. 

For example, in the match against Towson, the Bobcats were awarded 12 penalty corners and only scored on one of them, while the Tigers were awarded three penalty corners all game and converted all three. 

Overall, the Bobcats have outshot their opponents on the season 112 to 101 and have put more shots on goal (69 to 65), but have been outscored 25 to17. 

The worst example of its inefficiency from Quinnipiac’s offense came in its match against UC Davis on Sept. 19 when it put 12 shots on goal before one finally found the back of the net, and that goal was off a penalty stroke.

“It’s an interesting look for us,” head coach Becca Main said after the game. “We’re not used to shooting this many times and last season we struggled to get the shots off. So now, if you’re gonna take 26 shots, some have to drop for you.”

Despite the offensive difficulties, the Bobcats have been able to find balance amid their goal scoring output. Through nine games in the 2021 season, Quinnipiac’s only goalscorer was then-freshman forward Emilia Massarelli, who had four. 

And now, nine games into the 2022 season, the sophomore Massarelli only has two goals, however forwards senior Stella Tegtmeier and sophomore Lucia Pompeo have four apiece. Senior midfielder Eva Veldhorst also has three thus far after missing the 2020 and 2021 seasons due to COVID-19. 

“It has been really nice to come back and play with the seniors,” Veldhorst said after the UC Davis game. “They were from my grade. And I really know their way of play and it’s nice to have a big class. So yeah, coming back it felt normal to play with them. I knew where they were going to pass the ball and we were just off a little bit on the tactics, but it was good to catch up. It’s so nice.”

So while offense has been difficult to find heading into the middle of the season for the Bobcats, the improvement from 2021 is evident. So as the schedule’s most difficult stretch approaches, will those improvements make a difference against a set of opponents Quinnipiac is 10-32 against all-time? 

The jury is still out on the answer to that question, but so far, this season has been a victory for Quinnipiac, with success seemingly on the horizon for the Bobcats. 

“The future is bright,” Fleming said. “We have a lot of young players on our team that are very talented. We have a lot of players that could develop and continue to develop. I think the next thing is piecing it all together on both sides of the ball.”