Pioneer WLax Season Ends with NEC Tournament Loss to Quinnipiac

Junior Attacker Aurelie Pluijmakers
Junior Attacker Aurelie Pluijmakers

HAMDEN, CT (April 29, 2011) - The Sacred Heart women's lacrosse team fell short in their bid for a fourth-straight Northeast Conference Championship on Friday, losing to top-seed and host Quinnipiac 18-9 in the semifinal round.  This was the fourth-straight season the Pioneers and Bobcats have squared off in the NEC Tournament, the previous three coming for the title.

SHU (6-11, 5-4 NEC) got two goals and an assist from junior Aurelie Pluijmakers (Freehold, NJ) while fellow junior Kate Kmiotek (Farmingville, NY) added a pair of goals.  Sophomore Megan Pepe (East Quogue, NY) made seven saves in goal.

The Bobcats (12-4, 8-1 NEC) jumped out to 3-0 lead over the game's first 10 minutes of action.  QU out shot the Pioneers 17-9 in the first half and benefited from a 9-5 edge in the draw circle.  Pluijmakers got the Pioneers on the board at the 20:07 mark, scoring off a feed from junior Alyssa Dorsey (Massapequa, NY).  After a Devon Gibney goal gave QU a 4-1 lead, the Pioneers answered with a Kmiotek 8-meter goal just under two minutes later.

Quinnipiac's Jennifer Skipper started a five-goal run at the 9:53 mark and tacked on her second just 17 seconds later.  Gibney made it 9-2 Quinnipiac finishing off the run at 6:22.  The Pioneers rallied late in the first half as Pluijmakers and Kmiotek scored at 1:31 and 1:12 to send SHU into the break down 9-4.

Christine Sinnigen got QU on the scoreboard just 31 seconds into the second half and the Bobcats seized control of the game over the first 15 minutes of action building their lead to 15-5.  Skipper added two more goals on what was a 6-1 Bobcat run. 

The Pioneers tried to chip away and make a late run at a comeback.  Freshman Shelby Vaccaro (Brightwaters, NY) scored unassisted at 13:56 and SHU scored three-straight in a span of two minutes to cut the lead to seven.  Freshman Kelsey Russo (Lindenhurst, NY), Dorsey and junior Katie Gerhard (Centennial, CO) all found the back of the cage to pull SHU within 16-9 with 6:28 to go. 

QU put to rest any thoughts of a comeback as Lauren Matuszczak scored on a Gibney pass with 4:54 left and the Bobcats would hold the ball for much of the minutes, tacking another on late for the win.  Matuszczak finished with nine points on four goals and five assists.  Skipper tallied five goals while NEC Player of the Year Marissa Caroleo finished with three goals and an assist.