Fairfield tops Quinnipiac 14-7 in MAAC semifinals, stays undefeated against Bobcats all-time


Daniel Passapera

Quinnipiac women’s lacrosse ends the season with a record of 10-8.

Cat Murphy, News Editor

FAIRFIELD, Conn. — The Quinnipiac women’s lacrosse team’s season met its end Friday afternoon, falling 14-7 to Fairfield in the MAAC semifinals.

The No. 4 Bobcats that took the field against the No. 1 Stags played a demonstrably different game than they did less than a week prior against Canisius, when the team earned its first postseason victory in program history.

Quinnipiac struggled for control from the first draw — and at virtually every draw control in the first half. 

“We started slow,” head coach Tanya Kotowicz said. “We had to find our team, and it took a little too long.”

By comparison, the Stags found their footing in Rafferty Stadium within the first five minutes. Within two-and-a-half minutes of Fairfield’s first goal, the Bobcats were down by three. 

Although freshman attack Mia Delmond put Quinnipiac on the board and pulled the Bobcats within two to close out the first quarter, this was the closest the Bobcats would come to catching up with the Stags.

A series of fouls and turnovers on both ends kept the second quarter scoreless for nearly five minutes. When sophomore midfielder Maggie Fort finally found the back of the net, though, it took just five-and-a-half minutes for the Stags to extend their lead to six.

Down 7-1 at the half after being blanked in the second quarter, the Bobcats were visibly frustrated. Fairfield dominated at the draw, losing only one of 10 draw controls in the first 30 minutes of play.

Quinnipiac entered the third quarter with the energy and coordination of the team that beat Canisius 10-4 on Sunday — but it was too late. 

Senior attack/midfielder Emily Feeney and sophomore attack Abby Wise scored just nine seconds apart to cut Fairfield’s lead to four early in the second half.

But goals from sophomore attack Libby Rowe and freshman attack Amanda Kozak put Fairfield up 9-3 by the midpoint of the third quarter. 

And this back-and-forth gameplay defined the remainder of the game.

Three minutes after sophomore attack Angelina Sparacio scored just her third goal of the season to bring Quinnipiac back within five, Rowe lucked out on a strange bounce that kept the Stags ahead 10-4 — for all of 23 seconds. 

Senior attack Desiree Kleberg then scored on a free-position shot to close out the third quarter trailing 10-5.

And while Feeney and Sparacio each managed to find the back of the net once more in the final quarter, their goals were sandwiched between four Fairfield goals that put the game away.

“I just wanted to work for my team and be there for everyone, even though it wasn’t going our way the whole game,” Sparacio, who put up as many goals Friday as she had all season, said.

For the Stags — who improved to a 15-0 program record against Quinnipiac — the seven-goal win was just another game to put behind them as they look to win their fifth consecutive MAAC title. 

But for the underdog Bobcats who took the field still riding their first-ever playoff win, the loss was nothing short of soul-crushing.

“Definitely not where we wanted to end,” senior goaltender Kat Henselder said. “And I think something that’s going to stick with us for a long time.”

The game was particularly heartbreaking for Henselder: it was her last at Quinnipiac.

“It’s been the most fun four years,” said Henselder, who announced her intention to attend Columbia in the fall, through tears. “I’ve made some of my best friends and memories that I’ll never forget.”

Even Delmond, who ended her star-studded freshman campaign as the team’s second-highest scorer, limped off the field with regrets.

“I wasn’t able to run as hard as I could,” said Delmond, an ice pack wrapped tightly around her injured right hamstring. “I feel like I could have done more definitely.”

And yet, she was also hopeful that the team’s success this year was merely the beginning.

“It’s hard, but I’m so proud of this team because we’ve gone the farthest that we’ve ever been,” Delmond said. “This whole season is giving us so much confidence for next year and I’m really excited.”

Kotowicz, too, was equally as confident as she was disappointed.

“We’re gonna be here again, and we’ll make sure we’re on the other side of this win,” Kotowicz said.