Playing towards their ‘A’ game: Defense, depth are the keys to the Bobcats’ redemption tour


Peyton McKenzie

The Bobcats clinched a top-2 seed in the MAAC after its 2-0 victory against Saint Peter’s on Saturday.

Benjamin Yeargin, Associate Sports Editor

 When a team loses, it often tells you more than a win. That axiom is true for the Quinnipiac women’s soccer team too. 

The team’s first loss came against a Yale Bulldogs team that simply outplayed them. The Bulldogs were crossing balls in off both wings, exposing holes in the Bobcats’ defense. 

Next, on Oct. 15, Quinnipiac lost in MAAC play to the Iona Gaels 1-0 on a header from senior forward Sofia Giamanco. In both of those games, the Bobcats outshot their opposition, but couldn’t outscore them. 

Defense is something that head coach Dave Clarke feels the team must improve upon before the conference playoffs begin, with Quinnipiac already clinching a top-two seed in the tournament after its 2-0 victory over Saint Peter’s on Saturday. 

“We could be that team that just goes forward and attacks, attacks, attacks,” Clarke said. “At some point in time we have to clean up the defending so that it doesn’t become an issue.” 

Offense has clearly not been an issue, with junior forward/ midfielder Rebecca Cooke leading the team in points by a landslide with 44, exactly double than the next closest, junior forward Courtney Chochol. 

Cooke also leads Division I in goals with 19 and Chochol is tied for third in the NCAA with 11 assists. 

The rise of senior midfielder/defender Olivia Scott as of late has affirmed a belief Clarke has held: she’s the best player in the MAAC. Scott scored twice against Manhattan on Oct. 19, and once against Saint Peter’s last Saturday. 

Those three all are integral pieces to the machine that is Quinnipiac women’s soccer, but everyone knows the rule: Defense wins championships. 

On top of that, the Bobcats are a deep team that can rely on multiple players to get first-team level production. 

“We have a long bench with players that we trust to get on the field,” Scott said. “It’s also good getting starters off and rest because the minutes add up in the end.” 

Manhattan’s one goal on Oct. 19, came from sloppy defensive play leading. Junior forward/midfielder Sami Derrico navigated through it like a Lamborghini on an empty highway, leading to the Jaspers’ first and only goal on the day. 

Because of the offense’s potent production, I would grade the performance an A-, but Clarke knows from his experience in the classroom that if you can reach for higher standards, do it. 

“If you’re an A student writing a B+ paper … study and get the A,” Clarke said. 

What Quinnipiac could do better defensively is handling the balls coming from the wings. Junior goaltender Sofia Lospinoso has been excellent this year, sporting a stellar 1.08 goals against average this year. But on those crosses, she can’t be afraid to use all 5-foot-6-inches of her to punch the ball away or make the aggressive play. 

The defense could also play slightly more compact, making it tougher for opponents to enter and put pressure in the box. 

The Bobcats have one more regular season game against Mount St. Mary’s on Oct. 26, and the newly adopted team in the MAAC currently sits at seventh with a 2-4-3 conference record. If Quinnipiac wins that game and Fairfield loses its game against Iona, the Bobcats will claim the No. 1 seed. 

With the first seed in the conference, Quinnipiac will earn home-field advantage, which offers a myriad of benefits for the Bobcats. 

Quinnipiac absolutely has the talent to win the conference just as long as its defense tightens up and puts pressure on its opponents. The Bobcats don’t want to leave this season with that familiar, bitter flavor that they