Velaj’s hat trick powers Quinnipiac to first win

Stephen Black

The Quinnipiac women’s soccer team defeated Dartmouth 3-1 at home on Friday to earn their first win of the year.  All three goals for the Bobcats (1-4) came from junior forward Furtuna Velaj, her fourth career hat trick.

Velaj’s first goal came on a free kick in the 22nd minute of the game.

Ten minutes later, Velaj received a pass just inside the box from sophomore Kemesha Woodfine and buried it in the back of the net, giving Quinnipiac a 2-0 lead. This proved to be the game-winner for the Bobcats.

Dartmouth (1-3-1) got on the board in the 73rd minute when freshman Chrissy Lozier’s shot from inside the box hit the far post and trickled in. That cut the deficit to 2-1, however, it was all the offense the Big Green could muster.

Velaj added an insurance goal in the 89th minute on a shot from inside the box while being tackled by a defender to give the Bobcats a 3-1 lead. The assist on the goal came from Woodfine, her second of the game.

After four straight losses the win left the Bobcats with a sense of confidence heading into conference play next week.

“The whole team is confident right now,” Velaj said. “I’m confident too, it helps to get three goals.”

Velaj’s hat trick may have been the result of some extra motivation given by her coach before the game.

“I gave her the challenge that against a team like Dartmouth with the coaches and the staff that they have, with the people that were going to be watching this game, show and prove by your performance that you’re the best player and one of the best players in the country and ultimately she did that,” Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke said.

Dartmouth outshot the Bobcats 10-9, while the Bobcats held the edge on corners 7-3.

The Bobcats return to action at home Sunday at noon to take on Rhode Island.

Photo Credit: Charlotte Greene, video courtesy of QU Athletics