Monmouth Upsets Quinnipiac in NEC Semifinals

FAIRFIELD, Conn. - Monmouth, seeded third, upset second-seeded Quinnipiac, 9-4 in the semifinal round of the 2012 Northeast Conference Tournament on Friday afternoon at Sacred Heart's Campus Field. The Hawks advance to the conference tournament championship match on Sunday at 1:00 pm against fourth-seeded Mount St. Mary's, which defeated the top-seeded Pioneers, 7-4 earlier in the day.

Monmouth's defense and balanced offensive output were the game's story, getting two goals apiece from Alex Marino (Howell, N.J./Freehold), Sam Lillo (Short Hills, N.J./Millburn), Kaleigh Gibbons (Candia, N.H./Manchester Central) and Olivia Salata (Broomall, Pa. /Archbishop Carroll) while limiting the Bobcats to more than seven goals below their season average of 11.3 and keeping QU off of the scoreboard for the final 37:57 of the game.

Hawks keeper Katie Donohoe (Peterborough, Ontario/Holy Cross Catholic Secondary), an NEC All-Rookie team honoree, made nine saves in the contest to earn the win.

Monmouth's defense staved off an early QU possession then took a 1-0 lead on a Lillo free position goal with 26:23 to play in the first half. Quinnipiac tied it up at the 21:00 mark, with a goal shot low by freshman Kyra Ochwat but Lillo came back to retake the lead just over three minutes later. Marino gave the Hawks a 3-1 lead with 15:46 to play, but it was Quinnipiac's Chelsea Guerrera who tallied the next score, cutting the Hawks lead to 3-2 with 11:51 left before the half.

The Hawks regained the two-goal edge when Lillo drew an 8-meter attempt but instead fed Marino on the left side of the cage who beat Quinnipiac goalie Samantha Tilts. Quinnipiac scored a pair of goals within one minute of each other to tie things up at 4-4. Danielle Rakowitz (Montville, N.J./Montville)) regain the lead from the Hawks, being fed by Gibbons.

The Hawks took a 6-4 lead into intermission, punctuated by a Salata goal with eight seconds left, behind a pair of first half tallies from Lillo and Marino. MU outshot Quinnipiac 12-9 in the opening half. Salata started off the second half scoring as well, taking a feed from Marino from behind the Bobcat net.

Gibbons scored the final two goals for the Blue and White, recording a pair of unassisted markers at 14:23 and 6:19 of the second half, respectively, for the 9-4 final.

MU outshot the Bobcats 26-17 in the game, including 14-8 in the second half. The Hawks also controlled the majority of the second half's possession thanks in part to winning three of the four draw controls after intermission.

Hawks will face Mount St. Mary's at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday.

* * * *

FAIRFIELD, Conn. No. 2-seeded Quinnipiac was defeated by No. 3-seeded Monmouth, 9-4, in the Northeast Conference semifinals on Friday afternoon in Fairfield, Conn. With the loss, the Bobcats finish their season with an 8-8 overall record, while the Hawks move on to the NEC Championship Game with an 8-10 overall record.

"Any time you have a lead in the second half you want to take some time off the clock and Monmouth did that very well," said head coach Danie Caro. "Our problem wasn't getting the ball back, it was not turning it over as soon as we got it back. Our defense did a good job getting it back; our defense just didn't take care of it in transition and on attack."

Senior Marissa Caroleo (North Babylon, N.Y.) collected two points (one goal, one assist), while juniors Chelsea Guerrera (Wantagh, N.Y.) and Lianne Toomey (Hicksville, N.Y.), as well as freshman Kyra Ochwat (Farmingdale, N.Y.), each netted one goal apiece for the Bobcats. Monmouth goalie Katie Donohoe frustrated the Bobcats offensive attack, as she finished with nine saves in the game.

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2012-04-27



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