LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. - The Quinnipiac field hockey team lost to NEC top-ranked Rider in the second game of the NEC Tournament in Lawrenceville, N.J. Quinnipiac finishes the year at 8-10 overall and 4-4 in the NEC while Rider improves to 15-3 overall and 8-0 against Northeast Conference schools and will advance to the NEC Championship Game against Monmouth.
Quinnipiac goalie Nicole Lewis (East Amherst, N.Y.) stopped a career-high 13 shots in the loss. Lewis stopped seven of the first nine shots she saw on the afternoon. Offensively, four of Quinnipiac's five All-NEC players picked up a point in the loss as Katie Van Nostrand (Derry, N.H.) scored a goal, while Lauren Zimniski (Dallas, Pa.), Kim Cunniff (Walpole, Mass.) and Tina Watkins (Sweet Valley, Pa.) had assists. Freshman Jess Rusin (Garwood, N.J.) also scored in the loss.
Northeast Conference Rookie of the Year Sandra Penas put the Broncs out in front with her 14th goal of the season in the 11th minute of play. Penas scored on a backhand shot on a feed from Marlaine Schneider, who picked up her fifth assist of the year. All-NEC First Team honoree Lindsay Rajeski banged home her sixth assist of the year after being set-up on the play by Alicia Govannicci and NEC Player of the Year, Virginia Egusquiza. Govannicci converted on her seventh assist of the season while Egusquiza tallied her 21st.
Three of Quinnipiac's five All-NEC picks put the Bobcats on the board in the 30th minute when Katie Van Nostrand (Derry, N.H.) scored her fourth goal of the season off of a corner. Tina Watkins (Sweet Valley, Pa.) took the corner for the Bobcats, sending it to the top of the shooting circle to inserter, Lauren Zimniski (Dallas, Pa.), who set Van Nostrand up. Watkins picked up her team-leading, and personal-best eighth assist of the year, while Zimniski also picked up her fifth.
Rajeski scored her second goal of the game at the 44:55 mark on assists to Egusquiza and Penas. The goal came off a penalty corner to give Rider a two-goal lead, 3-1.
Freshman Jess Rusin (Garwood, N.J.) pulled Quinnipiac back to within a goal with her fourth marker of the season. The first-year forward was set-up on the play by NEC First-Teamer Kim Cunniff (Walpole, Mass.) off a pass in front of the Rider goal that Rusin converted on. The assist was Cunniff's third of the season, and helped Quinnipiac move within a goal of the Broncs, 3-2.
After the Broncs were awarded a penalty corner, Egusquiza got a shot off, but was interfered with, giving the two-time NEC Player of the Year a penalty stroke from 10 yards out. She was able to beat Lewis and give give the top-ranked Broncs a two-goal cushion, 4-2.