Women's Socer Falls To Monmouth, 1-0, In NEC Tournament

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac University women's soccer team lost to Monmouth University, 1-0, this afternoon in the first round of the Northeast Conference Tournament hosted by Central Connecticut State. With the loss, the Bobcats end their season with an 8-7-2 final record with a 7-3-1 position in the NEC. The Hawks improve to 14-4-1 on the year, with a 9-1-1 stance in conference play. With the win, Monmouth advances to the Northeast Conference Championship game that will be played on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 1 p.m. The Hawks will take on tournament-host Central Connecticut in the final game, as the Blue Devils defeated Long Island, 1-0, in game one of the semifinals.

"We're disappointed to lose," said head coach Dave Clarke. "We got punished on a mistake, and we didn't take the chances when they came. We played quite well, but we just ran out of gas getting caught up with players who had illnesses or injuries. Overall, I think we did well to stay in it until the end."

The Bobcats saw a few opportunities to score in the first half, taking two legitimate shots on net before Monmouth scored the opening goal of the game. Both Bobcat opportunities came early in the first from freshman midfielder and NEC Rookie of the Year, Jillian Strassner (Avon, Conn.). Strassner saw two chances to tip a cross into the corners of the net, but both shots ricocheted wide out of bounds.

The Hawks scored the lone goal of the game in the 35th minute of play to earn the 1-0 lead. Midfielder Courtney Snyder collected the ball at midfield and lobbed a pass to junior Mary Wilks outside the 18-yard box. Bobcat goalkeeper Biz Cook (Appleton, Wis.) was out of the net to challenge Wilks, where the forward lifted a shot over Cook's head into the lower left corner for her 12th goal of the season.

Quinnipiac saw two more solid opportunities to score from junior Meagan McLoughlin (Rocky Hill, Conn.) and sophomore Furtuna Velaj (Stamford, Conn.) in the second half. McLoughlin took a hard shot from inside the 18-yard box in the 47th minute of play, but her blast moved right into the hands of the Monmouth goalie to keep the Bobcats off the board. In the 71st minute, Velaj's shot came from the left inside corner of the 18-yard box where the forward wrapped around a Hawks defender and ripped a shot that went inches wide of the left post.

Monmouth's strong defensive back line, anchored by NEC Defensive Player of the Year Ali Kliment, held Quinnipiac to seven shots in the game, with Strassner leading the Bobcats with two. The Hawks' goalkeeper, Lia Fierro, made one save in the game while Cook recorded three saves for the Bobcats in the loss.

Quinnipiac wrapped up the 2009 season with an 8-7-2 overall record and a 7-3-1 stint in the NEC. The team's regular-season play earned three players, Strassner, Velaj, and Hanne Walleck (South Glastonbury, Conn.) All-Conference honors as announced at the NEC banquet on Nov. 5.