After three games in four hours, the Bobcats found themselves ending the day without a win. Fairfield showed that their eyes are set on yet another NEC championship this fall. Bryant and Colgate, two programs that did not perform in the fall, showed they have the firepower to compete with the big programs.
Match 1: Fairfield (L 2-1)
The Quinnipiac field hockey team’s Sunday tournament got off to a disappointing start and lost its opening match to Fairfield with a 2-1 final.
Outside the opening, both teams played slowly and had trouble connecting passes.
Just three minutes into the first half, Stag’s freshman midfielder Agustina Casteluchi had an outburst after intercepting a foul Bobcat pass. When Casteluchi finished with a shot, Bobcats freshman striker Lucia Pompeo made a desperate sting and knocked the ball out of play.
“They definitely made us work for the ball,” said junior midfielder Samantha Dugan. “There’s a reason they won their conference this fall, they are a good team.”
While the teams started the games exchanging possessions, the Stags began to dominate ball possession with about nine minutes left of the half. Even though the Bobcats got the ball, the Stags defense made it almost impossible to get past the midfield without getting a shot for over seven minutes.
With just over five minutes left until the break, Quinnipiac junior forward Stella Tegtmeier made a cross-field pass intended for junior striker Josie Sweeney. Unfortunately, the pass missed Sweeney’s stick by less than a foot and the Bobcats came empty.
Just after the opening of the second half, first striker Emilia Massarelli came in the direction of the Stags net. Even with several Stags around, Massarelli got a shot off, but Stags student goalkeeper Zoe Rosen stretched out and deflected the ball out of injury.
The dead water broke with three minutes left. As the Bobcats tried to gain possession, Stags junior midfielder Page Lowry fired a shot from the corner of a penalty kick just below the glove at junior goalkeeper Mack Vorel, giving Stags a 1-0 lead.
It took just under four minutes for the Bobcats to equalize, with Pompeo firing a shot from the gap up and over the glove at Rosen.
From a Bobcats penalty corner, an awkward bounce gave Stags a three-on-one opportunity in Quinnipiac’s zone. Luckily for the Bobcats, junior midfielder Gabby Herschell got his stick out and in a desperate dive redirected a Stags pass off the field.
“I’m still not sure how Gabby deflected that pass,” Dugan said. “I do not even think she knows how she deflected that pass.”
With just over five minutes left of the match, Casteluchi scored his second goal of the match, giving the Stags a 2-1 lead.
Fairfield clogged the shooting ranges, and when the horn sounded, the Bobcats began the day with a loss.
Match 2: Bryant (T 1-1)
After a back-and-forth game where there were few scoring opportunities, the Bobcats saw their second game in the tournament end in a 1-1 draw against Bryant.
Using their fresh legs, the Bulldogs managed to get hold of the rebound and tucked the ball into the empty net. However, the Bobcats had already warmed up, forcing the Bulldogs to work for quality shots.
Just past the four minutes of the half, it was again Pompeo with the ball. Unfortunately, like Fairfield, Bryant made it a priority not to allow light shots.
With just over nine minutes left of the first half, the Bobcats were awarded a penalty corner but were unable to capitalize. Between their three games, the Bobcats went 0-12 on penalty kicks.
“It was poor execution on our part,” said junior forward Julianna Cappello. “You can practice them as much as you want, but if you can not perform them during a game, you are not helping yourself.”
As the Bobcats went into the final five minutes of the half, the Bobcats had four consecutive penalty kicks. With a running clock, this took almost three minutes.
“That’s the thing these girls need to have in mind when it comes to tournament play,” said Quinnipiac’s head coach Becca Main. “They can not afford to waste time because that clock does not stop.”
This left both teams with some time to organize, so both teams went into the second half still with goose eggs on the board.
At the start of the second half, the Bobcats were hungry for a goal and Tegtmeier had a shot straight into the crack that was knocked away by Rosen’s glove.
Although the Bobcats had the early momentum, it was the Bulldogs who broke the tie with the help of first striker Abby Crowley. She wriggled a shot right side top shelf just over three minutes inside the half.
The Bobcats would not be behind for long – like the match against Fairfield – when a little over a minute later Pompeo snuck a shot just past the right block of Rosen.
“Lucia is just one of the girls on this team who can score,” Cappello said. “We have a deep roster and that’s something teams will have to take into account in the autumn.”
With just under six minutes left of the match, some accurate passes between Cappello, Sweeney and junior midfielder Rachel Papernik resulted in a shot from Sweeney missing the left post by a few inches.
Although the Bobcats got four penalty kicks in the final four minutes of the game, they were unable to capitalize, leaving them still looking for their first win of the day after a 1-1 draw.
Camp 3: Colgate (L 2-1)
Playing in the rain adds another layer of difficulty, and in their final game of the day, both Mother Nature and Colgate got the best of the Bobcats as they ended the day with another 2-1 loss.
Outside the opening, both teams had trouble gaining a foothold with multiple players slipping and falling on the wet grass.
Just before the four minute long first half, the Bobcats struck first and Massarelli scored his first goal and points of the tournament with assists from Sweeney and Pompeo.
“What’s there to say? All the teams today knew they had to push Emma,” Main said. “Luckily, we got other girls to pick up the cape and have some impressive performances.”
As the half continued, it was clear that the rain and the cold were starting to affect both teams. The players moved more slowly, passes did not stick together, and the players’ facial expressions on both benches made it clear that they were ready to call it a day.
With five minutes to go, the Raiders equalized as second striker Aaliyah Linfoot shot the ball from the left post and in.
For the rest of the half, neither team could retain possession of the ball. When the second half started, both coaches assembled the teams.
“I could feel the girls were tired,” Main said. “I told them they had to give 100% if they wanted to end the day strong with a win.”
Both teams took their time on the offensive and played a cat-and-mouse game that tried to get the other team to convince themselves to open the shooting ranges.
The Bobcats’ best chance of the half came with seven minutes left on the clock. Sweeney passed the ball to second midfielder Micaela Grajales just to the right of the goal. Unfortunately, Grajales got under the ball and chipped it over the net.
The teams continued to trade with possessions until with less than three minutes left of the half Raiders second striker Ella Corbett fired a shot at Vorel. Although she made the initial save, Vorel was unable to control the rebound, allowing Corbett to pick up his own rebound and give the Raiders a green goal.
As they tried, the Bobcats were unable to respond as they added another loss to the books, once again in the final of 2-1.
The Bobcats will be back in action at home on Saturday, April 9 against Holy Cross.