April 26, 2009

Sacred Heart Wins Back-to-Back NEC Titles Beating Quinnipiac, 11-6

April 26, 2009

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FAIRFIELD, Conn. (April 26, 2009) - The Sacred Heart Pioneers laid claim to their second-straight Northeast Conference women's lacrosse title Sunday afternoon beating the Quinnipiac Bobcats 11-6 on Campus Field. Senior Mary Montesarchio (Cortlandt Manor, NY) was named the NEC Tournament MVP as the Pioneers advance to the NCAA Play-In Game facing the MAAC Champion Fairfield Stags.

"We hit our stride at the right time and played two complete games this weekend," stated head coach Laura Cook. "Everyone stepped up, that's what won it for us. I couldn't be more proud of these girls especially our great senior leaders, Amanda Williams, Mark Montesarchio and Erika Spadafora."

Both teams battle through some championship game nerves over the game's first 10 minutes with SHU turning it over four times with three failed clears before getting their first shot off. QU struck first as senior midfielder Ashley Valentiine (Friendship, MD) buried an 8meter free-position attempt at 21:31.

The Pioneers (12-6) began to dominate the draw circle and ignited an offensive run to take control of the game. Junior Cori Horelik (South Windsor, CT) opened the scoring for Sacred Heart scoring the first of her career-high five goals with 17:49 on the clock to ignite a four-goal run over nearly a three minute span. Junior Carissa Hauser (East Northport, NY) and Horlik buried unassisted goals and senior Amanda Williams (Monroe, CT) finished a Hauser feed for a 4-1 Pioneer lead at 15:07.

Quinnipiac (12-3) closed out the scoring in the first half as Valentine notched her second, unassisted, at 8:39, and the two teams went scoreless in to the break with SHU up 4-2. The Pioneers won five draws in the first half as both teams turned it over six times each.

The Pioneer defense took over in the second half, holding the Bobcats off the scoreboard for over 18 minutes to put the game away. QU scored first to open the second half as Brittany Hauser (East Northport, NY) with just over two minutes in then went scoreless until the nine minute mark.

SHU opened up a one-goal lead with five-straight scores to take a commanding 9-3 lead. Tournament MVP Montesarchio started the five goal rally with her first of the day at 27:39 and ended it a 10:26 with her second, both coming unassisted. In between Williams tacked on a pair and Horelik collected her third.

Valentine ended the rally with her third at 9:03 but SHU ended the game with two more off the stick of Horelik over the final five minutes to ice away an 11-6 win, their second-straight against the Bobcats for the league title.

Horlik's five goal effort earned the junior a spot on the NEC All-Tournament Team joining teammates Williams and junior Chelsea Wagner (Aurora, CO) and Jackie Pierce (Cortlandt Manor, NY). Wagner made 10 stops in goal for the Pioneers on Sunday, five in each half. Pierce had a pair of draw wins and caused four turnovers with three grounders.

SHU's Hauser finished with a goal and a pair of assisted to go with a game-high five draw wins. The Pioneers took 13 of the 23 draws taken and outshot the Bobcats 24-20 on Sunday.

Quinnipiac was led by Valentine's three goals along with three assists junior Katie Latonick (Severna Park, MD). Goalkeeper Hannah Nelson (Glastonbury, CT) made six saves in goal. Latonick along with her sister Meghan Latonick (Severna Park, MD) and sophomore Lauren Matuszcak (East Longmeadow, MA) earned spots on the All-Tournament team.

"We did not play our best game today," stated QU head coach Danie Caro. "To Sacred Heart's credit they came out an executed when they had to and we did not. Give credit, the best team won today."

Rounding out the 2009 NEC All-Tournament team was sophomore Aly Jost (Abingdon, MD) and senior Kathleen Rossetti (Perry Hall, MD) from Mount St. Mary's and junior Shawn Evans (Moorestown, NJ) and junior Megan Brennan (King of Prussia, PA) from Monmouth.

The 2009 Pioneers become the first team in Sacred Heart history to claim back-to-back NEC Championships since joining the conference in 1999-2000.

The Pioneers advance to the NCAA Play-In Game, taking on the MAAC Champion Fairfield Stags next Saturday, May 2nd at 3:00 pm at Fairfield, University.

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