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Quinnipiac women’s lacrosse clinches first MAAC playoff berth

Photo Courtesy Quinnipiac Athletics

By: Drew Feinberg

In just her first year as head coach of the women’s lacrosse team, Tanya Kotowicz has already made history. On Wednesday, her team defeated the Siena Saints by a score of 11-10, clinching its first MAAC Tournament berth in program history.

The Bobcats entered this game having never defeated the Saints in any MAAC regular season game, and were picked to finish last in the 2017 MAAC preseason coaches’ poll.

However, they proved doubters wrong by improving to 3-4 in the MAAC, the team’s best conference record since joining the conference back in 2013.

“I think it means more to see them achieve what they’re achieving,” said Kotowicz. “Honestly I owe everything to the players who are working everyday tirelessly to earn this.”

Kotowicz played a huge role in taking the Bobcats to the postseason for the first time since 2012, when the team was in the Northeast Conference.

With Manhattan and Iona, two of the bottom three teams in the MAAC, losing earlier in the day Quinnipiac just needed to defeat Siena to clinch its first MAAC Tournament berth.

Siena, coming into this game without a conference win on the season (0-5), came out firing. The Saints pelted Bobcats junior goalie Kyle Larkin, leading in shots 8-3 early in the game.

It was a back and forth first half for both teams.

After scoring the games opening goal just 2:30 into the first half, Quinnipiac senior midfielder Alex Hlesciak scored her second goal of the game to tie the score at four. With just 36 seconds left in the half, Siena’s Cara McQuillan slotted one past Larkin, putting the Saints up at 5-4 as the teams went to the locker rooms.

The Bobcats were outshot in the first half 17-11 and allowed six free-position shots for Siena compared to Quinnipiac’s one.

“We went into the locker room and made a team decision that we have more than we’re giving right now,” Kotowicz said.

Quinnipiac came out in the second half firing on all cylinders.

Quickly outscoring the Saints 5-1 in the beginning of the half, the Bobcats took the lead 9-7 with 19 minutes remaining in regulation. Not ready to lay down and quit, Siena came back, tying the score at 9-9.

With less than ten minutes left in the game, sophomore midfielder Allison Kuhn completed her second half hat trick with a free-position goal.

The Bobcats added to their lead as Ashley Bobinski found her twin sister Victoria in front of the net to make the team’s lead 11-9. For the Bobinski twins, chemistry is not an issue.

“I just know when she’s cutting, and it’s just that confidence of having somebody that you know will always have your back,” Ashley said. “It’s something special.”

Quinnipiac needed to survive only two more minutes to clinch a postseason birth.

Siena added another goal with less than 30 seconds remaining, as Michelle Schwartz scored a free-position, cutting Quinnipiac’s lead to one.

However this late goal would prove to be the last, as the Bobcats picked up the victory 11-10.

“We came into this year wanting to change the program, and to know that you’re now a part of history is absolutely amazing,” Bobinski said.

The Bobcats next game, and final MAAC regular season contest, will be senior day as they play host to Niagara on Sunday, April 23 at Reese Stadium in New Haven.

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