Quinnipiac Women’s Soccer Locks Up No. 2 Seed in MAAC Playoffs


(Photo: Quinnipiac Athletics)

Keenan Mills

It was the last day of regular season play in the MAAC when the Quinnipiac Bobcats and the Fairfield Stags played in Hamden on Wednesday. Both teams controlled their own destiny; whichever team won claimed a home playoff game.

Home field advantage is vital to both teams as they both have just one loss at their respective home fields throughout the regular season.

The Bobcats would go on to not just gain the home-field advantage but earn the 2nd seed after their 3-0 win over the Stags. A loss from Siena and head-to-head advantage over Niagara earned the Bobcats the same seed as a season ago.

But Markela Bejleri and the Bobcats were unaware of this before the game and, courtesy of two goals coming from Bejleri, got a convincing win over the Stags.

The scoring began 24 minutes in when Bejleri received the ball and dribbled into the box unchallenged. She shot with her left foot right in the left side of the net to put the ball past Stags goalkeeper Juliette Grasso. This would also give Selena Salas her team-leading 11th assist, she would earn another one later in the game bringing her total to 12.

Bejleri continued her dominance 20 minutes right before the end of the first half. She found the ball again right outside the box and beat a defender to bring the ball on her right foot. Just outside the box, she sent a bending shot into the top right corner just outside of Grasso’s reach to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead heading into the locker room.

Bejleri, typically thought of as a pass-first midfielder, came into Wednesday’s game with just one goal on the season.

“Just doing the same things over and over,” Bejleri said. “Today it worked out and got two goals.”

In the second half, Gretchen Kron would complete the 3-0 shutout with her first goal of the season.

The Bobcats head into the playoffs on a two-game win streak, outscoring teams 7-0 in that span as this team starts to look like the one we saw at the start of this October in comparison to the games they dropped against Siena and Iona two weeks ago.

As the 2nd seed, Quinnipiac has locked up two home games throughout the playoffs if they win at home on Sunday.

“We gotta win the first to get the second,” head coach Dave Clarke said. “So the focus should be just doing the job in the first game and then we will worry about the second game after that.”