NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y– Iona's Nicole Paulucci (Manalapan, NJ) scored a goal in the first minute of overtime to lead the Gaels to a 1-0 win against Quinnipiac Bobcats in their MAAC matchup in New Rochelle, N.Y. Quinnipiac suffers their first loss in MAAC play as they move to 2-1-2 in conference play and 2-5-3 overall. Iona improves to 3-0-1 in conference play and 4-5-3 overall.
"We did not do enough to win the game so we can have no complaints at the manner in which we lost," said Head Coach Dave Clarke. "This was our worst performance in some time which is disappointing, but we have to put it behind us and focus on getting a result at home to Niagara next weekend."
Iona was the first opponent for Quinnipiac Women's soccer on Sept. 20, 1987, which ended in a 6-1 Bobcats' win at the QU Soccer Field in Hamden, Conn. Heading into Saturday afternoon's game the Quinnipiac held a 9-3-0 overall record against Iona. Quinnipiac's first game against their new conference foe came with a shot at first place in the MAAC standings on the line.
The first half would see both Quinnipiac and Iona trade opportunities back and forth. The Gaels had two quick chances in the second and fourth minute. Bobcats' goalie Natalia Grodzki (North Brunswick, Ill.) denied Iona's Sali Ayinde and Alex Chinich to keep Iona off the board.
Senior Beck Kiting (Canberra, Australia) had the Bobcats first chance in the 22nd minute when she had a shot on goal but that was blocked by Gaels' keeper Trista Rivera (Wading River, NY).
Through the first half of play the Bobcats held a 3-2 advantage in shots while the Gaels held a 2-0 corner advantage but the game remained scoreless.
The second half started out very much the same as the first, with Iona producing a scoring opportunity on a header in the 63rd minute, but Grodzki was able to make the save.
Laura Nicholas (Derry City, Northern Ireland) had the best chance for the Bobcats in the second half in the 82nd minute, but Rivera would remain unshaken. The clock wound down in the second half and the game headed to overtime.
In the extra session, Iona attacked from the start. The Gaels pressed the Bobcats immediately and were able to draw a foul less than 30 seconds into the overtime period. Leanne Benson (Cortlandt Manor, NY) set up Nicole Paulucci who put a head to the ball and was able to get it past Grodzki for the goal.
The goal would end Grodzki's 325 minute-and-seven-second scoreless streak. Grodzki, who entered this week as the reigning MAAC Defensive Player of the Week, made four saves on the day while Rivera made three saves in the eleventh shutout of her career. Quinnipiac moves to 9-4-0 all-time against Iona.
The Bobcats return to action on Saturday, Oct. 12, when they play host to Niagara. Start time is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the QU Soccer Field.
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