Junior defender Kimberly Cunniff scored two goals in Sunday’s home game, giving Quinnipiac’s field hockey team a come-from-behind victory over the Lafayette Leopards. The field hockey team went on to win 3-1, improving its record to 3-6 on the season.
Down by one goal heading into the second half, the Bobcats came out with a renewed spirit and tied up the score within the first 11 minutes. After receiving a penalty corner, senior captain Tina Watkins took the shot, sending the ball to Lauren Zimniski who acted as stick-stop. The ball went to Cunniff, who fired a shot past Leopard goalie Kelsey Andersen, for the Bobcats’ first goal of the game and Cunniff’s third goal of the season.
Cunniff’s second goal propelled the Bobcats to their first lead of the game. Similar to her first goal, Cunniff shot the ball past Andersen off a penalty corner. Watkins once again acted as push-out, while Zimniski was stick-stop. At 57:25 of the game, Cunniff shot the ball straight at the net, scoring from the top of the circle–her fourth goal of the season.
“I thought we played great,” Cunniff said. “We really used each other and played as a team for once. We’ve had three losses in a row now, so we really needed it.”
Between Cunniff’s goals, the Leopards returned with multiple attacks on the Bobcats’ defending net. Bobcat goalkeeper Nicole Lewis defended against all offensive forces. Lewis blocked several shots from Lafayette attackers, especially senior Meghan Cicchi. On a penalty corner for the Leopards, Lewis made a diving save.
Lafayette’s first and only goal came in the first minute of the the game. At 0:27, Leopard midfielder Maria Machalick took a shot at the goal from the top of the circle. With a crowd in front of the goal, Lewis was unable to stop the ball from slipping by her. The ball hit the back of the net, allowing Lafayette to draw first blood.
The Bobcats padded their 2-1 lead as they put an insurance goal up on the scoreboard at 68:26. With less than two minutes remaining in regulation, sophomore forward Kristin Engelke scored her second goal of the season. From the corner, forward MacKenzie Liptak sent the ball into the circle, where it deflected off of Andersen’s pad, straight into Engelke’s path. Engelke trapped the ball and sent it to the net, right past the Leopards’ goalie.
“I think for us, we’ve known our corners,” Quinnipiac head coach Becca Kohli said. “You’ve seen the expertise that Kimmy [Cunniff] can do on corners. Kimberly Cunniff was huge for us today, and we know if we draw corners that that’s going to happen for us.”
Sunday’s win brought the Bobcats’ three-game losing streak to an end.
“It was a really good win that I appreciate, and that we’re going to appreciate until we play Brown next Tuesday, so good win,” Kohli said.
The Bobcats return to play Tuesday, Oct. 5 at 4 p.m. to take on Brown at Quinnipiac’s Field Hockey and Lacrosse Turf Complex in Quinnipiac’s Play for Pink game, an effort to raise breast cancer awareness through the Susan B. Komen Foundation.
Photo credit: Anna Brundage