HAMDEN, Conn. - Team captain Katie Latonick (Severna Park, Md.) scored the game-winning goal with five seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team to an 8-7 victory over Northeast Conference opponent Monmouth Thursday afternoon. Latonick's goal lifted the Bobcats above .500 for the first time this season at 5-4 overall. The win also improves the team's NEC mark to a perfect 4-0, while Monmouth drops to 3-1 in league play and 5-6 overall.
"Today's game was well played by both teams. We were really fortunate that we had a great defensive stop at the end to give us the last possession," Head Coach Danie Caro said. "We were really poised and patient on our final possession and Katie (Latonick) made a big-time play to bury the game winner with five seconds left."
Megan Brennan scored the opening goal on a free-position shot 42 seconds into the game to give Monmouth the early 1-0 lead. Quinnipiac's Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, N.Y.) and Chelsea Guerrera (Wantagh, N.Y.) scored back-to-back goals in 1:07 to pout the Bobcats back on top, 2-1.
The Hawks' Brennan and the Bobcats' Caroleo each netted one more goal apiece in the first 10 minutes of play, before Shawn Evans of Monmouth evened the score at 3-3. That score would hold up for the next 17 minutes of play before Quinnipiac sophomore Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.) received at pass from junior Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.) at midfield and netted a goal into the top right corner to take a 4-3 lead into the half.
Lianne Toomey's (Hicksville, N.Y.) free-position tally gave Quinnipiac the 5-3 lead just over three minutes into the second period. Two goals from Molly O'Brien in less than a minute evened the score for Monmouth.
Matuszczak scored her first goal of the game with 19 minutes left to regain the lead, 6-5. The Bobcats' defensive pressure allowed nine and a half minutes to elapse from the clock before Evans finally broke through with a goal to again tie the game.
O'Brien's third marker gave Monmouth their first lead of the game since it was 1-0 in the first minute of play. Just over three minutes later, Gibney got the equalizer on a free-position goal to the far side, just inside the post.
Brittany Hauser's (Northport, N.Y.) taken charge on Monmouth's Rachel Feirstein next to the Quinnipiac goal with 2:16 remaining in the game allowed the Bobcats to hold for the final possession.
Latonick and Guerrera exchanged passes at the top left portion of the offensive zone before Latonick took the ball behind the Monmouth crease. Looking for an open teammate cutting to the net, the fifth-year member of the Bobcats began to move to her right and to the front of the goalmouth. Holding off a defender and making a deke towards the goal, Latonick opened up a shooting lane. Her shot found an area in the far top corner with five seconds remaining in the game for the game-winning goal, 8-7.
Latonick and Matuszczak both finished with team highs of three points on one goal and two assists each. Matuszczak and Gibney each had three caused turnovers in the win, while Hauser's caused turnover in the final minutes gave her team the opportunity to net the winner.
Goalkeeper Lexi DeStefano (Brookfield, Conn.) continued her strong junior season with another win, turning aside seven shots in the game. Five of those saves came in the second half, including three on one sequence in the final 10 minutes of the game.
"I am really proud of how well our defense played today," Caro added. "Lexi (DeStefano) did a great job directing the defense and we came up with big plays when we needed them."
Quinnipiac will face another tough test when perennial NEC power Mount St. Mary's comes to the Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Field on Saturday at 11:00 a.m. Saturday's game also marks Senior Day for the Bobcats who will be honoring five members of the team for their contributions to the team over their careers. It will also be the final day of the Friends of Jaclyn Week that helps support children fighting pediatric brain tumors.