HAMDEN, Conn. - Despite battling back on two occasions, Quinnipiac scored the go-ahead and game-winning goal with no time remaining to hand the Lehigh field hockey team a tough 3-2 loss on Wednesday afternoon. The Mountain Hawks pulled even on two separate occasions, but the Bobcats earned a penalty corner with time winding down in the second half. Quinnipiac capitalized, preventing the Mountain Hawks from their third overtime game of the young season.
“We’re definitely resilient,” said Lehigh head coach Stacey Blue. “We would like to score first, but we’re showing a lot of heart to battle back. We can still capitalize on opportunities, but we’re definitely improving and doing some good things.”
Lehigh senior captains Caitlin Donnelly and Abby Tilton netted the Mountain Hawks’ goals while junior Kim Eng recorded an assist. Sophomore goalkeeper Sierra Segear was stellar once again, making 13 saves, good for her third straight game in double figures. She also stopped a penalty stroke late in the second half to keep the score tied at two. The reigning Patriot League Goalkeeper of the Week now owns an impressive 81.1 save percentage on the season (and in her career).
The Bobcats sent their entire team up on the final penalty corner, making it a 10-on-5 scenario. Lehigh attempted to clear after the initial shot, but it didn’t get out of the circle, keeping the play alive. Quinnipiac got it back, leading to Kimberly Cunniff’s third goal of the afternoon.
“Quinnipiac is very good at getting corners,” said Blue. “A big goal of ours [coming in] was to prevent their corner opportunities. Ultimately, it’s hard to defend 10 people at the top of the circle.”
Quinnipiac came out of the gate strong, putting four shots on cage in the first 10:14, but Segear denied them all. However, the Bobcats were able to beat Segear only 41 seconds later when Cunniff blasted a shot off a penalty corner to make it 1-0 at 10:54.
The Mountain Hawks’ offense began to heat up, leading into their first shot on goal, by Brittany Johnson, and then a goal less than five minutes later. It was Donnelly scoring her second of the season, beating Quinnipiac goalkeeper Nicole Lewis to the far post for a 1-1 deadlock at 21:16.
The teams played even for the next 12 minutes until the Bobcats regained their one-goal advantage at 33:20. Quinnipiac again scored off a corner when Cunniff found the back of the cage to make it 2-1.
A resilient Lehigh squad continued to fight back, and it paid off at 51:18 when Tilton scored her third goal of the season, all coming in her last two games. Her reverse chip shot through traffic beat Lewis high to even the score at two with less than 20 minutes remaining.
Both teams had chances down the stretch, leading into Quinnipiac’s late charge which led into the penalty corner and ultimately, the winning goal.
The Bobcats held a 29-8 edge in shots and 11-1 in penalty corners. Segear finished with 13 stops while freshman Emily Hu made a defensive save, already her fifth of the season. Lewis finished with three saves for Quinnipiac.
The Mountain Hawks continue their busy stretch this weekend when they host Fairfield on Saturday (1 p.m.) before heading to Saint Joseph’s on Sunday (3:30 p.m.).