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The Quinnipiac Chronicle

The Student News Site of Quinnipiac University

The Quinnipiac Chronicle

Undefeated Quinnipiac heads to MAAC Championship with 1-0 semifinal win over Rider

Peyton McKenzie
Graduate midfielder Markela Bejleri, 6, fights freshman midfielder Ava Ferrie, 16, of the Broncs for the ball during the MAAC Women’s Soccer semi-final match on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2023 at the Quinnipiac Soccer & Lacrosse Stadium.

HAMDEN, Conn — After claiming its first MAAC title in program history in 2022, No. 1 Quinnipiac women’s soccer is bound for its third-consecutive appearance in the conference championship with a 1-0 victory over No. 6 Rider Thursday. 

“It’s all about game management,” Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke said. “They’re (Quinnipiac) going to give 100%.”

The Bobcats entered the match with an undefeated conference regular season record and a 1-0 head-to-head record against the Broncs, thanks to a 1-0 win on Sept. 30.

But Rider came in with a newfound confidence following a 1-0 upset over No. 3 Canisius on Oct. 29. 

Quinnipiac and Rider had a combined seven shots in a scoreless first half, but there was still plenty of action in Hamden. Both sides did not hold back from a physical match, equally shutting down offensive opportunities.

“This was definitely a time where you have to pick everybody up because of the scrappiness of the game,” senior goalkeeper Sofia Lospinoso said.

Both teams entered the second half with a clean slate — for a good 30 seconds. 

“We knew a goal was going to come, we just didn’t know when,” senior forward Courtney Chochol said.

Early in the second half, junior midfielder Amanda Mendez fouled Chochol in the Broncs’ box, calling for a penalty kick.

“It’s always nerve-racking,” Chochol said.

Chochol — awarded this season’s MAAC Golden Boot  — broke the seal for Quinnipiac with a solid lower-left hand shot to give the Bobcats a 1-0 lead.

It was all Quinnipiac needed. 

“We prepare all year, playing one-up, one-down in practice,” Chochol said.

Rider had its chances to get the equalizer, but it could not capitalize. The Broncs fell to the hands of Quinnipiac’s unwavering defense, backed by Lospinoso.

The Bobcats were victorious yet again, but they scored just one of 13 shots. 

“We should’ve put the game to bed,” Clarke said. “But I’ll take 1-0 over 1-1, then the extra time any day of the week.”

One thing is certain: The Bobcats are a much stronger team than last season. In the wake of a 4-1 loss to Penn State in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, Quinnipiac has spent this season improving its physicality to compete with stronger teams. 

“Today, it’s (training) paid off,” said Clarke.

The Bobcats have the weekend to breathe before facing what lies ahead.

“(It’s) nowhere we haven’t been,” Lospinoso said.

Quinnipiac will host No. 2 Fairfield on Sunday with gametime scheduled for 12 p.m. as it searches for back-to-back MAAC championships.

“Once you get a taste of finals and then the tournament, you want to go back,” Clarke said.

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About the Contributors
Amanda Dronzek
Amanda Dronzek, Sports Editor
Peyton McKenzie
Peyton McKenzie, Creative Director

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