EMMITSBURG, Md. - Senior Lauren Matuszczak (East Longmeadow, Mass.) scored a game-high seven points on three goals and four assists to lead the Quinnipiac women's lacrosse team over Mount St. Mary's, 11-8, on Thursday afternoon. The win ensures the Bobcats of a Northeast Conference playoff berth and no worse than a share of the 2011 NEC regular season title. Quinnipiac improves its NEC record to 7-1 and its overall record to 10-4, while the loss drops the Mountaineers to 6-10 overall and 5-3 in NEC action.
"Today wasn't our best effort, but it was enough to win," head coach Danie Caro said. "I give a lot of credit to the Mount, they played very well and didn't give us anything easy. I'm just happy we were able to make some plays in the second half to put the game away."
The Bobcats received offensive support from junior Devon Gibney (Hopkinton, Mass.), who netted two goals and one assist, as well as senior Christine Sinnigen (Sudbury, Mass.) and sophomore Lianne Toomey (Hicksville, N.Y.), who each scored two goals. Junior Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, N.Y.) and sophomore Sarah Allen (Glastonbury, Conn.) each contributed two points on the afternoon, while junior Jennifer Skipper (Centerport, N.Y.) scored one goal.
"I think our midfield was the difference for us today," said Caro. "Devon Gibney kept Rufalo in check, and Lauren Matuszczak and Marissa Caroleo did a great job directing our offense."
Defensively, junior Kim Davis (Darien, Conn.) collected a team-high five ground balls, while senior Kaitlyn Kelly (North Massapequa, N.Y.) earned a team-high three draw controls and two caused turnovers.
"Kim Davis played really well defensively for us, and Kaitlyn Kelly was solid again," said Caro. "Some of our younger players, like Kiera Carey, Emily Samuelman, and Lianne Toomey really made plays for us in crunch time."
Junior goalie Noelle Martello (Westbury, N.Y.) turned away nine shots on the afternoon, while her counterpart Brigid McTavish made eight saves for Mount St. Mary's.
"I can't say enough about how happy we are with Noelle's play lately," said Caro. "She is confident in the cage, and that allows our whole team to play confident in front of her."
Only three players contributed to the offense for Mount St. Mary's including Jen Semler (two goals, two assists), Kaitlyn Larrimore (three goals) and Nicole Price (three goals).
The Bobcats netted the first goal of the game with just over five minutes elapsed in the contest, as Matuszczak put away her first goal of the afternoon. Following a scoreless drought of nearly 10 minutes, Quinnipiac scored its second goal of the contest on a goal from Caroleo, with 16:39 remaining in the first half.
The Mountaineers responded by scoring the game's next four goals to take a 4-2 lead with 7:39 remaining in the first half. Quinnipiac received goals from Sinnigen and Matuszczak to make the score 4-4 going into the locker rooms at halftime.
Quinnipiac continued its offensive pressure in the second half, as Gibney gave the Bobcats the lead, 5-4, with 24:24 remaining in the game. Mount St. Mary's scored two goals just over a minute separated from each other to re-take the lead, 6-5 with 20:01 remaining in the contest.
The Bobcats proceeded to go on its longest scoring streak of the contest, netting four straight goals to take a 9-6 lead with 16:51 remaining in the game. Matuszczak and Sinnigen each scored one, while Toomey netted her first two goals of the game in that time span.
The Mount put together a two-goal streak of its own to close the gap, 9-8, but a goal from Skipper and Gibney gave the Bobcats a three goal cushion with 2:26 remaining in the game.
"We're focusing on Monmouth on Saturday, and the team knows we need to play our best if we want to win."
The Bobcats can clinch the No. 1 seed in the NEC playoffs with a win on Saturday, April 23 when the team travels to West Long Branch, N.J. to face Monmouth at 1 p.m.