HAMDEN, Conn. – On a field full of new faces for Quinnipiac, one of many came through with the overtime game-winning goal to send the Bobcats past Holy Cross, 2-1, in overtime from the QU Soccer Field. Freshman Nadya Gill (Toronto, Ontario) supplied the heroics as her game-winning goal sent her team and home crowd into a frenzy as the Bobcats walked away winners in the 2015 season opener.
Gill's deciding goal 7:46 into overtime period was met with a mob scene in front of the Holy Cross net as the entire Bobcat roster met her in jubilation of the victory. Gill, who finished off a seeing-eye Joanna Proctor (Frimley, England), became the first QU freshman to have their first career goal be the game-winner since Furtuna Velaj back in 2008.
As one of eight Quinnipiac freshmen to see time in their first career game, Gill was just one of many to shine in what is the Bobcats' first season opening victory since the 2012 season. Freshman Madison Borowiec (Windsor, Connecticut) was another standout as her first career goal tied the score at 1-1 less than a minute before halftime.
Along the defensive line, freshman Sarahkate Norton (East Bridgewater, Massachusetts) helped limit a high-powered Crusader offense while playing 93 of the possible 98 minutes. Norton, paired with seniors Ashley Wendland (Hamden, Connecticut) and Nicole Eriksen (Stamford, Connecticut) throughout, combined for a solid effort in their first game action as a defined unit.
In the times Holy Cross broke through the Bobcats' back line, senior Natalia Grodzki (Bartlett, Illinois) was there to shut the door as she made six saves on seven shots-on-goal, including a massive stop with just over 10 minutes remaining in regulation.
Quinnipiac's five freshman starters lit a spark under the team early as Gill and Jess Gargan (Dublin, Ireland) each had a couple prime scoring opportunities thwarted by the Holy Cross defense. Not soon after, the Crusaders broke through first as Grodzki managed to save the initial shot from Courtney Cohen but the rebound was left out in front for Aly Spencer who punched in the goal just over 11 minutes into the action. The Holy Cross goal put an end to the Quinnipiac scoreless streak as the Bobcats held the Crusaders without a goal for 340:15 which spanned across a series of five games in the all-time series.
Play settled throughout the remainder of the half until a furious last couple minutes left the Holy Cross defense scrambling. With less than one minute remaining, junior Kelly Caruso (Rocky Hill, Connecticut) sent in a looping corner on a quick set and after taking one bounce, Borowiec buried her first career goal past the diving keeper. Caruso, the team's leader in assists in 2014, picked up her sixth career helped on the Borowiec goal.
Borowiec's first half tally with just under 30 seconds remaining sparked a second half effort that featured no goals and one highlight-worthy stop from Grodzki. With just over 11 minutes remaining in regulation, the Crusaders' Emily George carried the ball into the 40-yard range. With both teams and coaches expecting a pass, George instead fired on-cage that Grodzki needed to dive back to her right to nudge wide of the far side post.
The stop sent the game into an extra frame in which Quinnipiac controlled throughout, attempting six shots compared to just one for Holy Cross. The sixth and final Bobcat shot in overtime proved to be the game-winner as Proctor stepped up from her defensive midfield position and carried the ball deep along the far side sideline. With just a little daylight between her and the defender, Proctor fired a perfect centering pass to the far post where Gill was waiting for the chip-in game-winner.
Quinnipiac picks up a big win over a regional foe in Holy Cross who went 8-0-1 in their nine non-conference games from the 2014 season. The Bobcats also continue to dominate the all-time series as Quinnipiac moves to 8-4-1 in 13 matches against the Crusaders including a record of 6-1-1 in the last eight games.
A road matchup looms next for the Bobcats as the team will travel down to Dover to take on the Delaware State Hornets on Friday, Aug. 28 at 7:00 PM.
Contact: Maxx McNall; firstname.lastname@example.org