College Soccer

Nadya Gill Slams Home Game-Winner for QU Women’s Soccer in Closing Minutes as Bobcats Defeat Vermont, 2-1

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Thumbnail Photo is Courtesy of Quinnipiac Athletics

BURLINGTON, Vermont – The thrilling start to the 2015 campaign prolonged on Sunday for the Quinnipiac women’s soccer team as the Bobcats shook off a late defensive lapse with a tantalizing last-minute game-winner that gave QU the 2-1 victory over Vermont. Quinnipiac closes out the TD Bank Classic with a 1-1 record, improving to 3-1 overall in 2015 which marks the best start for QU since the 2012 season.

Providing the heroics once again for the Bobcats was freshman Nadya Gill (Toronto, Ontario), who through four games in her career has provided three game-winning goals. Gill’s late-game magic finished off what was a pulse-pounding final 10 minutes of play.

“For our team to come back so positively, especially with such a young roster, is excellent and something to build on for the rest of the season,” said Quinnipiac head coach Dave Clarke. “Nadya’s game-winning goal was not only a highlight-reel play but it came from several players as our midfield worked together in moving the ball up top.”

After knocking on the door throughout a large portion of the game, Vermont finally found the game-tying goal as Rylee Osgood deflected a clearance attempt from Natalia Grodzki (Bartlett, Illinois) and made no mistake as she knocked the ball into an open net with less than five minutes remaining.

The disappointment and frustration that one would expect from a young team, however, quickly turned into a positive just 1:12 later. Working with the ball coming from midfield, the game-deciding play started with Jess Gargan (Dublin, Ireland) finding Jessica Fontaine (Enfield, Connecticut) in the Catamounts’ defensive half of the field. Fontaine turned to her right and sent a perfect through ball to Amanda Barroca (Bellmore, New York) streaking up the right side. Barroca dribbled the ball to the far end line and sent a perfect cross to Gill who made no mistake with the finish at the near post.

“Jess (Fontaine) worked hard to fight through some defenders to find Amanda (Barroca) on the wing,” Gill said. “All I had to do was find the open spot in the defense and Amanda found me with a perfect pass.”

Barroca’s assist was the third of her career while Fontaine notched her second of the season and sixth of her three-year career. Gill, meanwhile, continues on a torrid start to her career as she leads the Bobcats with three goals, all of which have resulted in game-winners for Quinnipiac.

“It feels really good to start my career this way but none of this wouldn’t have been possible without the team,” Gill continued. “All three of my goals have come from plays my teammates developed and today was no different. Everyone stepped up and in no way would my goal have been possible without the support of my teammates.”

Having to deal with a Vermont squad that enjoyed the fair share of possession and shots (VT led 13-8 for the game), Quinnipiac relied on their defensive trapping and press to tip the score in their favor.

With the Catamounts holding the ball for much of the first half of play, the strategy paid big dividends at the 32-minute mark as Fontaine picked a ball off a midfield and found freshman Jess Cascio (Hebron, Connecticut) open ahead of her. Cascio calmly turned and sent a lovely through ball to classmate Alex Pelletier (Cheshire, Connecticut) who snuck behind the VT defense. With the goalkeeper coming out to challenge, Pelletier looked up and calmly went low to the far post for the first goal of the game as well as the first of her career. Cascio’s assist moved her into a tie with Fontaine for the team-lead with two.

Quinnipiac’s defense was tested throughout but the combination of the goalkeeper Grodzki (five saves on six shots-on-goal) as well as the play of Nicole Eriksen (Stamford, Connecticut), Sarahkate Norton (East Bridgewater, Massachusetts), Ashley Wendland (Hamden, Connecticut), Caroline DeBonis (Flushing, New York) and Kelly Caruso (Rocky Hill, Connecticut) made life difficult for the Vermont forwards.

“Our entire unit stayed organized and made sure we kept play in the middle as Vermont prefers to find much of their offense from the outside,” said freshman defender Norton. “Even with the late Vermont goal, we persevered and came back for a big team win.”

Norton, Gill and Fontaine all found their way onto the TD Bank Classic All-Tournament Team as the Bobcats tied with the TD Bank Classic Champions New Hampshire for the most All-Tournament selections with three apiece. Playing in what was a relentless heat at Virtue Field in Burlington, Coach Clarke was very congratulatory for his team’s efforts following the win.

“I expected this team to be 2-2 coming out of the first two weeks of the season but with three wins already we will set new goals and continue to approach this season game-by-game,” Clarke said. “The team has played well from the start of the preseason into the first four games of the season and we’ll look to continue to develop in these two upcoming non-conference games into the start of MAAC play in two weeks.”

Quinnipiac will play a third straight America East foe on Sunday, Sept. 13 as the Bobcats welcome Maine to Hamden for a 1 PM kickoff.

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