November 20, 2010

Women's Soccer 2010 Season Review

HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac women's soccer team recently wrapped-up the 2010 season with a 2-2 draw against Saint Francis (Pa.) in the first round of the Northeast Conference Tournament on Nov. 5. The Bobcats ended the season at 5-2-3 in conference play and with an overall record of 7-7-4.

Quinnipiac outscored its opponents 25-22 on the season, while tallying 22 assists on the year. For the fifth consecutive season, the Bobcats were able to end the year with an overall record at or above .500.

"In some ways it was a very successful season," said Head Coach Dave Clarke. "If you look at how we started the season, the little blip on the Pennsylvania trip, and where we were facing elimination from the NECs, but then to turn around, rebound and make the playoffs, it's satisfying."

Despite an 0-4 start, the team was able to make an impressive comeback with a five-game unbeaten streak. On Sept. 17, the Bobcats beat Dartmouth, 3-1, as junior forward Furtuna Velaj (Stamford, Conn.) compiled her fourth-career hat trick in Quinnipiac's first win of the season. The victory was followed with another Quinnipiac win against Atlantic-10 foe Rhode Island, 1-0, at the Quinnipiac Soccer Field.

The Bobcats began conference play with a 4-2 victory over Central Connecticut State on Sept. 26. The Bobcats came back from a 2-1 deficit for the win, as four different Quinnipiac players scored. The team went on to tie its next two games on the road at Wagner and Regular Season Champions Long Island University.

Quinnipiac went 1-1 in its next two home games, with a 2-1 loss to Monmouth and a 2-1 win against Mount St. Mary's. The team suffered a 3-0 loss in its next match at Saint Francis (Pa.) on Friday, Oct. 15. Saint Francis went on to win the NEC Tournament before losing, 1-0 in overtime, against Ohio State, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Following the defeat, the Bobcats came back, winning three of its final four conference matches of the season, to clinch a playoff berth for the second consecutive season. In their last outing of the regular season, the Bobcats shut-out Fairleigh Dickinson, 6-0, as the team celebrated Senior Day on Sunday, Oct. 31. Six players scored in the victory, five of which scored in the first 45 minutes of play.

The women went on to tie, 1-1, Saint Francis (Pa.) in the first round of the NEC Tournament. Saint Francis advanced to the Championship game with a 3-1 advantage in penalty kicks.

"I think that the manner in which we played in the semi-final, and the potential and the ability of the team, showed that the NEC was there to win," said Clarke. "So in some ways we should be disappointed that we didn't make the final, but then that becomes the goal and objective for next year. Now we know what it takes to win it. I think the team has already focused on not only getting to the NEC's, but winning it."

Velaj was selected to the Northeast Conference All-Conference first team, her third selection in as many years, while senior Meagan McLoughlin (Rocky Hill, Conn.) and sophomore Jillian Strassner (Avon, Conn.) were named to the All-NEC Second Team. In addition, seniors Kyla Miles (Newtown, Conn.) and Jen Hartman (Cranston, R.I.) were named to NEC All-Tournament Team.

Velaj led the Bobcats with 19 points, seven goals and five assists on the year. In addition, Strassner compiled 12 points, five goals and two assists, while McLoughlin scored three goals and added two assists on the season.