Bryant Drops Heartbreaker in Final Seconds to Quinnipiac

SMITHFIELD, R.I. - A free position goal scored by Maria Blois with 10 seconds left in regulation vaulted Quinnipiac to a 16-15 victory over Bryant on Thursday night despite a career-high seven goals from junior midfielder Lisa Vendel (Sandy Hook, Conn.).

The loss was the first in Northeast Conference play for the Bulldogs (5-4, 2-1 NEC), who trailed the Bobcats (3-6, 1-1) until the final five minutes of the second half when Vendel's seventh and final score gave the hosts a 15-14 edge and their first lead of the contest.

Aileen Carey would knot the score for the fifth time off a pass from Sarah Allen with 2:23 remaining, leading up to a shooting space foul whistled on the Bulldogs with just 12 ticks left on the clock to set up a free position opportunity for Blois that would ultimately decide the game.

The loss snapped Bryant's four-game winning streak, and the Black and Gold would see 14 of their 15 goals come in unassisted fashion, with junior Kimberley Sniffen (Redding, Conn.) tacking on her third hat trick of the year to compliment a performance by Vendel that tied the program's Division I mark for goals in a game.

After falling behind, 3-1, in the opening 15 minutes and 6-3 with just four minutes to go in the first half, the Bulldogs netted two quick tallies to cut the Bobcats' lead to just a single goal entering the halftime break.

Quinnipiac opened the second half with a free position goal just 69 seconds in, but back-to-back Vendel scores just two minutes apart would tie the game at 7-7 for the first time since the 22:48 mark of the opening frame.

Allen would score twice more for the visitors to renew Quinnipiac's two-goal lead, but the Bulldogs would respond in kind with tallies from Lauren Descalzo (Hauppauge, N.Y.) and Vendel for a 9-9 draw entering the final 20 minutes.

The Bobcats would net three more goals in a two-minute span for their largest margin of the second half, and the sides would go virtually goal for goal from there to bring the clock down to 10:42 with Quinnipiac holding a 14-12 advantage.

With 8:08 showing on the clock, Sniffen's unassisted goal close the gap to one, 14-13, and Descalzo would follow up with the game-tying tally 50 seconds later. Vendel capped off the three-goal spurt at the 4:27 to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the contest, but Bryant would end up brokenhearted in the end in a battle to the final whistle.

Quinnipiac doubled up the Bulldogs on the draw control on the evening, 22-11, led by eight wins from Phoebe Laplante and six from Chelsea Guerrera. Bryant saw 14 ground balls to the Bobcats' eight, and went 14 for 15 on the clear with a 3 for 5 mark on free position shots. The Black and Gold forced 10 caused turnovers, including a game-high three from Vendel.

The Bulldogs will be right back at it, though, with just one day before their next NEC match-up, a 12:00 p.m. battle against Sacred Heart Saturday in the front end of an NEC lacrosse doubleheader at the Bryant Turf Complex.


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