Velaj's Hat Trick Propels Women's Soccer To Come-From-Behind, Double-Overtime Win

MOON TOWNSHIP, Pa. – Freshman Furtuna Velaj (Stamford, Conn.) scored three goals after the 80th minute to propel the Quinnipiac women's soccer team to a come-from-behind, double-overtime victory, 4-3, Friday afternoon at Robert Morris. The three goals give Velaj 12 in just seven games this season. With the win, the Bobcats improve to 5-2 (1-0-0 NEC), while the Colonials fall to 4-6-0 (0-1-0 NEC).

"It was a big win in overtime," said Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke. "I'm encouraged that we could come back and get the win."

Amber Sidoti (Farmington, Conn.) added a goal, while Danielle Nugent (Framingham, Mass.), Susan Donovan (Cork, Ireland), Kristina Del Mistro (East Williston, N.Y.) and Meagan McLoughlin (Rocky Hill, Conn.) added assists for the Bobcats.

Jillian Kelley (Simsbury, Conn.) earned the victory in net, stopping six shots to improve to 5-2-0. Caitlin Dilal took the loss for the Colonials, despite making seven saves.

The Colonials got off to a quick start, scoring twice in the first 16 minutes. Jess Sharik scored the first goal, a hard, high shot to the upper right corner from 25 yards out just over eight minutes into regulation. Less than eight minutes later, Daneen Stevenato was the beneficiary of crisp passing by Sharik and Jessica Weary, sending a quick shot past Kelley to give Robert Morris the two-goal advantage.

Sidoti cut the deficit in half with less than five minutes remaining in the first half. The junior received Nugent's pass in the right corner, carried the ball toward the 18-yard box and hit a left-footed shot into the far side of the net.

Chelsea Miazgowicz's goal less than 10 minutes into the second half put the Colonials back on top by two goals. Sharik played a corner kick to the short side of the six-yard box and Miazgowicz headed it inside the near post.

Down two goals with less than 10 minutes to go, Velaj breathed life into the Bobcats in the 81st minute. Velaj ran onto a through ball from Donovan and squeezed a close shot from the left side just inside the near post.

Just over two minutes later, Velaj took a Kristina Del Mistro pass and deposited over Dilal into the upper 90 from 30 yards out to tie the game.

After a scoreless first overtime, Velaj completed the hat trick with the golden goal in the 107th minute. Velaj corralled a long pass from McLoughlin and touched it into open space atop the 18-yard box. The freshman's blast worked from left-to-right and around Dilal to give the Bobcats the victory.

The Bobcats outshot the Colonials, 23-15, while also taking the corner kick lead, 12-6.

Quinnipiac concludes its western Pennsylvania road trip, Sunday at Saint Francis (Pa.). The match is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. in Loretto, Pa.