Women's Lacrosse Plays At Sacred Heart Saturday Night For NEC Regular Season Title
Quinnipiac University Bobcats (9-5, 8-0 NEC) vs.
Sacred Heart University Pioneers (11-4, 8-0 NEC)
Saturday, April 17, 2010 - 7 p.m.
Campus Field- Fairfield, Conn.
The Quinnipiac University women's lacrosse team will take on Sacred Heart Saturday night at 7 p.m., under the lights of Campus Field in Fairfield, Conn. Both teams enter the final regular-season game of 2010 with 8-0 records in Northeast Conference play. The winner of Saturday night's game will claim the regular season title and the No. 1 seed with the right to host the following weekend's NEC Tournament. In each of the last two years, the Bobcats and Pioneers have shared the regular season title before advancing to play one another in the 2008 and 2009 NEC Championship Games.
Scouting the Pioneers
Sacred Heart enters the game having won nine straight games and posting an 11-4 overall mark to match their perfect record in conference games. In the team's last game, it took three overtimes to defeat Lafayette, 15-14. Kaitlin Rochler scored with 1:02 remaining in the third overtime to give her team its ninth win in a row and the 11th of the season. Sacred Heart is the second most prolific offensive team in the NEC this season as it is second in goals per game (11.67), assists per game (6.13) and points per game (17.80); trailing Quinnipiac in each category. Senior Carissa Hauser is third in goals per game and second in assists per game, but ranks first in the league in points per game in 2010. Goalkeeper Chelsea Wagner is one of the top goalies in the country, posting a national-best .593 save percentage coming into the week.
Leading the Nation
Team captain Katie Latonick (Severna Park, Md.), playing in her final season with the Bobcats, is currently the nation's leader with 39 assists. Coming into the game with Columbia, Latonick was the top player in the country with 36 in 2010. Against the Lions, she added three more to bring her season to within five of her single-season program record of 44 set last year.
of a Day
Despite the one-goal loss, junior Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.) put up career numbers with four goals and five points against Columbia. Besting her previous career high of three goals, set three different times during her career with the Bobcats, the junior midfielder scored her team's first four goals of the second half. She also collected four draw controls and two ground balls in the game.
Junior defender Kaitlyn Kelly (North Massapequa, N.Y.) picked up team highs with four ground balls and six draw controls against Columbia. This season, Kelly leads the team with 37 ground balls, 24 caused turnovers and 39 draw controls and has been named the NEC Defender of the Week twice.
Saturday's game marks the first since 2005 that the top team teams play on the final day of the regular season with seeding implications on the line. That season Monmouth and Mount St. Mary's played their final regular season games against one another with the Hawks sporting a 7-0 record entering the game, while the Mount was 6-1. Mount won, 11-10, to claim of share of the regular season title before moving on the defeat Monmouth in the NEC Championship Game just over a week later, 8-7, in five overtimes.
Along with leading the NEC in points, goals and assists this season, the Bobcats have caused teams into making the most turnovers per game (10.71), while committing the fewest per game (15.21) themselves in 2010.
Margin for Error
Quinnipiac leads the league in scoring margin this season. Scoring 4.4 more goals than their opponents, the Bobcats have an even larger margin in league games. In eight contests with NEC opponents, Quinnipiac is outscoring the opposition by an average of 8.5 goals. The team has accumulated 128 goals in that time, 20 more than Sacred Heart in the same number of games.
When taking into account nonconference games, Sacred Heart's Carissa Hauser is one of the nation's top players, notching 68 points this season. However, in conference games in 2010, Latonick and sophomore Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.) are the top two point-producers in the league. Latonick is averaging 5.12 points in NEC matchups, while Gibney is second with 4.71 per game.
Alexandra The Great
After emerging as the Bobcats' starting goalkeeper midway through the season, junior Lexi DeStefano (Brookfield, Conn.) has turned into one of the best in the league at her position. Posting a perfect win-loss record this season, she is also first in goals against average in the NEC with a 7.98 mark and second in league games at 6.88. Her save percentage of .529 this season also ranks second to Sacred Heart's Wagner.
Saturday's game also marks the sixth time that twin sisters from opposing teams will play each in this rivalry. Quinnipiac's Brittany Hauser (East Northport, N.Y.) has established herself as one of the NEC's premier defenders during her career. She will take on twin sister Carissa for the final time in the regular season on Saturday. Counting postseason play, Sacred Heart owns a 4-1 advantage over Quinnipiac while the Hausers have been in uniform, including wins in each of the last two league title games.