Women’s soccer remains undefeated at home after shutout of Hartford

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Women’s soccer remains undefeated at home after shutout of Hartford

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

Photo Courtesy: Quinnipiac Athletics

Shannen Tierney and Roberto Casillas

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Highlights by: Shannen Tierney

Story by: Roberto Casillas

After a tough mid-week loss to Harvard, the Quinnipiac Bobcats returned home and convincingly defeated the Hartford Hawks 2-0. In a game that the Bobcats dominated from beginning to end, they confirmed their strong start of the season and remained undefeated at home.

Sophomore forward Gretchen Kron broke the deadlock for the Bobcats in the 35th minute after a good play on the wing that ended with a deadly diagonal cross by senior forward Ally Grunstein in which Kron met inside the penalty box and sent to the back of the net.

Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke and the Bobcats put the nail in the Hawks’ coffin in the 59th minute after a brilliant set piece play. Redshirt junior Kelsey Goldring sent a lobbing ball to the far post for freshman midfielder Olivia Scott to simply head the ball back to the middle of the box where redshirt senior defenseman Kylie Lance found the ball and put it past the keeper for her first goal of the year. That would be enough for the Bobcats to secure their fourth win of the season.

This game was another one in which the youth of the team was on display. Eight players from the Bobcats starting lineup were freshmen or sophomores. Freshman midfielder Markela Bejleri and Scott are two of those new faces for the Bobcats that continue to impress in the early season. The two Canadians are the equilibrium commanders of the Bobcat midfield and continue to impress in the non-conference games.

“We knew we had two players that are really quality coming in,” Clarke said, referring Scott and Bejleri. He even threw in a basketball comparison when talking about them. “It’s like three-point guards on the field (on the court), just give them the ball.”

Clarke also mentioned sophomore midfielder Selena Salas when talking about his midfield players.

“They’ve got quality. They have national team ability, so they’ll grow,” Clarke said.

Salas returned to the pitch earlier this week against Harvard and made her debut at home Sunday in the victory. Although she only played 21 minutes, the Bobcats can only get better with the return of their All-MAAC Preseason Team player.

“Still early days for her in terms of her fitness,” Clarke said. “We’re managing her minutes. She’s limited in each half.”

Another stand-out player today was freshman goalkeeper Meaghan Phillips. The Ontario native hasn’t allowed a goal in 271 minutes played at home this year and has been a key part of the Bobcats´ early success.

“I trust this team, I have a lot of trust in every player so I knew that coming here and getting on the field everything would work out,” Phillips said. “Keeping the clean sheets is obviously every goalies´ dream, but it’s a team effort so the team wins together and loses together.”

Clarke is excited about his young goalkeeper but knows that everything is not going to be perfect for Phillips going forward.

“There’s going to be problems ahead for her,” Clarke said. “So, she’s going to have to learn to deal with goals that she concedes where she’s responsible. Right now things have gone fairly well for her. But she’s on top, she can learn and she’s in probably in the best environment other than in practice, so every game that she plays is good.”

The Bobcats now sit at 4-1-0 to start the season. They will continue their non-conference games this Wednesday when they host the UMass Lowell River Hawks, before the start of conference play on Sept. 21.