Cunniff's Hat Trick Powers Field Hockey To 3-2 Win Against Lehigh
HAMDEN, Conn. – Quinnipiac field hockey senior captain Kimberly Cunniff (Walpole, Mass.) scored three times off of corners for her first career hat trick as the Bobcats defeated Lehigh, 3-2, at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Complex in Hamden, Conn. The win moves the Bobcats to 4-2 on the season while Lehigh drops to 1-4.
Cunniff's hat trick is the second for the Bobcats in Quinnipiac's last three games after sophomore Jess Rusin (Garwood, N.J.) scored three times against Colgate on Friday, Sept. 9. Cunniff's three goals in the game give her a team-high six for the year and 17 for her career, moving her into a tie for 8th place all-time at Quinnipiac. Her 37 career points now put her in 12th place all-time.
Megan McCreedy (White River, South Africa) had two assists in the game, while Ashley Gradwell (Fogelsville, Pa.), Maria Malonoski (Phoenixville, Pa.) and Kaitlyn Notarianni (Clarks Summit, Pa.) also had assists. Nicole Lewis (East Amherst, Pa.) had three saves for the afternoon while her counterpart, Lehigh's Sierra Segear stopped 13 shots in goal.
Cunniff's last goal of the game came with no time on the clock after Quinnipiac was awarded a corner with less than 20 seconds to play. The Bobcats' special teams, and specifically Cunniff, were tested several times in the last 15 mintues of play. Cunniff was denied on a penalty stroke by Segear in the 57th minute when Segear made a kick-save to deny Cunniff. The Bobcats had four corners in the last three minutes of play, but Cunniff was stopped once by Segear before Emily Hu made a defensive save to stop another would-be goal.
Cunniff then blasted a shot off the post before the Bobcats were awarded their final corner with time expiring. Ashley Gradwell (Fogelsville, Pa.) took the corner for Quinnipiac, finding inserter Megan McCreedy (White River, South Africa) at the top of the circle. McCreedy pushed the ball to Kaitlyn Notarianni (Clarks Summit, Pa.) who found Cunniff to the right of the circle. Cunniff's one-timer beat Segear to the lower right corner for the game-winner.
Cunniff scored the game's first goal, with an assist going to Maria Malonoski (Phoenixville, Pa.) in the 10th minute of play before Lehigh's Caitlin Donnelly tied the game in the 21st minute. Gradwell and McCreedy then set-up Cunniff with the go-ahead goal with 33:20 on the clock to send Quinnipiac into halftime with a 2-1 lead.
In the second half, Lehigh's Abbie Tilton scored her team-leading third goal of the year on a reverse chip shot, as she was falling down, to surprise Lewis and tie the game at 2-2.
Quinnipiac returns to action on Sunday, Sept. 18 when it hosts Harvard at 2 p.m. at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Complex in Hamden, Conn.