HAMDEN, Conn. - The Quinnipiac women's lacrosse team earned its first-ever Northeast Conference Tournament Championship with a 15-3 victory over Mount St. Mary's on Sunday afternoon at the Quinnipiac Field Hockey & Lacrosse Turf Field. Bobcats' junior midfielder and tournament MVP, Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.), led the way with six goals and one assist to provide Quinnipiac with its 13th victory of the season, matching its all-time program-high. Quinnipiac's overall record now stands at 13-4, while Mount St. Mary's finishes its season with an 8-11 overall record.
"I am so proud of the team and the way they performed this weekend," said head coach Danie Caro. "They played hard, they played smart, and they played to win. As a coach, I couldn't ask for anything more."
Gibney was named tournament MVP after totaling 12 points on eight goals and four assists in both games combined. She also added four draw controls, two caused turnovers and one ground ball in both wins.
"Devon was phenomenal this weekend," said Caro. "She shut down two of the league's best midfielders (Kate Kmiotek and Esther Rufolo) and also got it done for us on offense. She is one of the best two-way players I've ever coached, and I am so happy for her."
Junior midfielder and All-Tournament honoree Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, N.Y.) also added to Quinnipiac's scoring total, garnering five points on three goals and two assists. She also shared a team-high three draw controls, as well as two ground balls and one caused turnover.
"Marissa really sparked our attack early on and got us rolling in the right direction," said Caro. "She always makes the little plays for us that make a big difference, and she did it again today. She is a great player, and I'm real glad she is on my team."
All-Tournament honoree, senior Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.) followed up her NEC Tournament record-breaking (10-point) performance on Friday with another solid game, contributing two goals and one assist. Matuszczak's 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in both games combined marks a new NEC Tournament record, previously held by Ashley Staines (UMBC) and Jeanette Stott (Monmouth), who each totaled 11 points in their two tournament games. Matuszczak's seven assists are also a tournament record, breaking Stacy Sydlo and Stott's record of five.
Quinnipiac, which broke the NEC Tournament record of 13 assists on Friday against Sacred Heart, added another nine assists in today's game, to set a new NEC Tournament record with 22 total assists.
Sophomore Lianne Toomey (Hicksville, N.Y.) added two goals and one assist, while sophomore Sarah Allen (Glastonbury, Conn.) contributed one goal and two assists. All-Tournament honoree, junior Jennifer Skipper (Centerport, N.Y.) scored one goal for the Bobcats, while senior Laura Iannotti (Rocky Point, N.Y.) and senior Christine Sinnigen (Sudbury, Mass.) each tallied one assist.
Junior Kim Davis picked up a team-high three ground balls and two caused turnovers, while Caroleo and Toomey each grabbed three draw controls on the afternoon.
All-Tournament junior goalie Noelle Martello (Westbury, N.Y.) made nine saves on 12 shots en route to allowing a season low three goals against.
"Noelle was amazing today," said Caro. "We have waited a long time to see her play to her potential and she's done that this year. She played as well as I've ever seen her play this weekend and was a big reason we won."
"I think that this team is a really special team and they know how much they owe the players that came before them," said Caro. "This championship has been a long time coming and it feels great to finally be able to win it. We're really excited to be able to represent the NEC in the play-in game and hope we can represent well."
The Mountaineers received little offensive support on this day as Kaitlin Larrimore, Meaghan Conlon, and Jen Semler each scored one goal. Aly Jost led Mount St. Mary's with four ground balls and three draw controls. Brigid McTavish and Sarah Jane Leder combined to make five saves in net for the Mountaineers.
Mount St. Mary's scored the game's first goal just under two minutes into the game, but Quinnipiac would rattle off a season-high 11-goal unanswered scoring streak to essentially put the game out of reach for the Mountaineers. The Bobcats received two first-half goals from Gibney and Caroleo, and one from Skipper and Toomey. Gibney's second goal of the half with just 16 seconds remaining sent the Bobcats into halftime with a 6-1 lead.
Toomey continued the scoring run with a tally just under 30 seconds into the second half, before Gibney netted three straight goals of her own to give the Bobcats a 10-1 lead. Matuszczak netted her first goal of the game with 17:39 remaining to play to give Quinnipiac the ten-goal advantage, 11-1.
The Mountaineers finally registered its second goal of the game following a 42 minute scoring drought, however Quinnipiac would pile on three more goals from Allen, Matuszczak, and Gibney to inflate the lead to 14-2 with 7:21 remaining. Mount St. Mary's and Quinnipiac traded the final two scores of the game, as a goal from Caroleo with 26 seconds remaining gave the game its final score, 15-3.
Quinnipiac now prepares to face Patriot League Champion, Navy, in the NCAA Play-In game, when its travels to Annapolis, Md. on Saturday, May 7 set for a 12 p.m. start.
All Tournament Team
Elizabeth Sunseri (Robert Morris)
Mallory Schulze (Robert Morris)
Jessica Ingrilli (Sacred Heart)
Megan Pepe (Sacred Heart)
Jen Semler (Mount St. Mary's)
Nicole Price (Mount St. Mary's)
Aly Jost (Mount St. Mary's)
Lauren Matuszczak (Quinnipiac)
Marissa Caroleo (Quinnipiac)
Jennifer Skipper (Quinnipiac)
Noelle Martello (Quinnipiac)
Devon Gibney (Quinnipiac)