Women’s lacrosse knocks off Iona by 10, Bobcats clinch postseason berth


Daniel Passapera

The Quinnipiac women’s lacrosse team won back-to-back games for only the second time all season.

Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

HAMDEN, Conn – In what was the final home game of the 2023 regular season, the Quinnipiac women’s lacrosse team dominated the visiting Iona Gaels, clinching a MAAC playoff spot in a decisive 18-8 victory Wednesday afternoon.

“I think Iona is a really tough team, they’re gritty, they’re feisty, they’re physical,” head coach Tanya Kotowicz said. “They want perfection … I think they did a good job.”

Senior attacker Desiree Kleberg continued her torrid offensive attack, scoring her seventh goal in four games just four minutes in to push the Bobcats out in front by one early.

Immediately after, a goal from Iona sophomore attacker Laine Walterson and two from Quinnipiac graduate student midfielder Sophie Spencer set the tone for what was a high-scoring affair.

Quinnipiac ended the first quarter on a high note, as senior midfielder Amy Nicoloff scored her 24th and 25th career goals to build the lead up to four. With just under 10 seconds left, the Bobcats sprinted down the field and freshman midfielder Mia Delmond found twine as the horn sounded.

The second quarter began just like the first did — with a Quinnipiac score. Senior attacker Sophia Iaccino scored her 19th of the campaign to increase the Bobcats lead to six. The goal was Iaccino’s third point of the afternoon and 100th of her career, something she takes pride in.

“It’s all because of the team,” Iaccino said. “Obviously, I couldn’t do that by myself. It’s an honor to have that accomplishment.”

Under two minutes later, Kleberg found an open shot, scoring an unassisted goal for her 26th goal of the season. A free position goal from Iona sophomore midfielder Kira Varada and a nifty move from senior attacker Amber Brewster helped claw the Gaels back into the game. 

After 30 minutes of play, the Bobcats headed to the locker room up by five, thanks to another goal by graduate student midfielder Maddie Deegan. That goal also gave Deegan her 100th career point. 

Despite the deficit, a strong second quarter by Iona — capped off by two more Varada scores — gave the Gaels the momentum going into the break. However, the Gaels’ transition defense was slow in getting back down the field. Quinnipiac was able to use its speed to set up offensive chances with little resistance.

“We definitely found the holes,” Deegan said. “It was definitely a share-the-ball kind of game … Just put it away.”

Out of the half, the Bobcats were pushed on their heels. A quick score from senior midfielder Emily Stewart helped the Gaels start off the third quarter strong, but all it did was force Quinnipiac to pick up the offense into a higher gear.

Two consecutive goals from Deegan and senior attacker/midfielder Emily Feeney gave the Bobcats 11 goals in the game, a plateau they reached for the 10th time this year. Both sides traded scoring chances to wrap up the third quarter and after 45 minutes of lacrosse, the Bobcats led 12-7.

The last quarter was just a formality. Feeney, Iaccino, Sweeney, Delmond and Kleberg all tacked on goals in the final minutes and the Bobcats strolled away victorious with a 18-8 win. The 18 goals were a season-high for Quinnipiac and the most it has scored since March 26, 2022 in a 19-7 win over Marist.

With the win (along with an 13-3 Manhattan loss to Fairfield earlier in the afternoon), Quinnipiac clinched a top-six spot in the conference and a berth in the MAAC Tournament later this month.

“We took this team … and started a mentality of ‘we want to make playoff runs,’” Kotowicz said. “We’re back on track, which is good.”

The 8-7 Bobcats will look to close out the regular season on a high note, as they will travel to Mount St. Mary’s on Saturday for a 1 p.m. matinee game.