HAMDEN, Conn. The Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team clinched its sixth-straight Northeast Conference Tournament berth with an 18-13 win against Wagner on Senior Day at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Field. In her final regular-season home game, senior captain Ashley Valentine (Friendship, Md.) set new career highs with six goals and seven points. The win improves the Bobcats' NEC record to 6-1 and 11-2 overall. The 11 victories are a new program single-season record, while the team tied the single-season mark with its seventh-straight win. Wagner drops to 3-4 in conference play with the loss and are 4-11 overall.
"We are happy to get this win and clinch a spot in the postseason," said Head Coach Danie Caro. "However, we now have to shift our focus to Monmouth on Sunday so we can head into the NEC Tournament on the right note."
Senior captain Tiffany Manzi (Agawam, Mass.) matched her best scoring output of the season as she netted four goals and one assist for five points in the win. Fellow senior Nicole Fiore (Monroe, Conn.) equaled her season high of six points as she finished with three goals and three assists. Valentine's first goal of the game was the 100th of her career, while Fiore's three give her 99 in her career.
Quinnipiac jumped out to a 7-1 lead with 12 minutes remaining in the first half. Wagner ended the half on an 6-2 run to pull within two, 9-7. Valentine scored three times in the opening period, while Manzi scored twice. Senior Janelle Lopez (Chula Vista, Calif.) recorded her first point of the season, assisting on Lauren Matuszczak's (East Longmeadow, Mass.) goal nine minutes into the first half. Lopez scored her first goal of the season 16 minutes later as Manzi found her cutting through the eight-meter arc for the quick shot and goal.
The Bobcats ended the Seahawks' momentum with another scoring run to start the second half. Quinnipiac went on 9-1 run to open the half as Valentine scored three more goals. Fiore collected all three of her assists in that time, including on Valentine's final two tallies. Freshman Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.) scored her lone goal of the game, while picking up two assists. Senior defender Meghan Latonick (Severna Park, Md.) scored her first goal of the season to put the Bobcats up nine, 17-8, and Fiore wrapped up the Quinnipiac scoring with 12 and a half minutes to play.
Wagner ended the game on a 6-0 run to make it a five-goal game, but the Quinnipiac lead was too much to overcome late as the Bobcats held on for the 18-13 win. Senior goalkeeper Hannah Nelson (Glastonbury, Conn.) recorded nine saves in earning her sixth victory of the season. Wagner's Alex Johnston also turned away nine shots, while allowing all 18 goals before giving way to Amy Jones for the final 4:40 of play.
The Bobcats return to action on Sunday, April 19, as they travel to West Long Branch, N.J., to take on Monmouth in the final regular-season game for both teams. The Bobcats and Hawks are set to square off at noon with playoff seeding still yet to be determined.