[caption id="attachment_3858553" align="aligncenter" width="436" caption="Adam Manison"]
In this weekend’s closing the University of Hartford women’s soccer team improved to 10-0-2 overall and 3-0 in their America East Conference, after defeating New Hampshire at home 3-0 and Binghamton 1-0 in Vestal N.Y., and received individual player and team honors.
In recognition of her eighth and ninth shutouts of the season gained over the Hawks’ latest games, Hartford sophomore goalkeeper Erin Quinlan became the first Hawk to repeat AE conference player of the week honors on Monday and marked the third straight week a Hawk has received a weekly conference honor.
The transfer from Syracuse is first in the conference and second in the nation in goal-against average, .17, save percentage, .968, and shutouts, 9. Quinlan also has allowed only two goals out of 1,080 total game minutes played while shutting out nine of Hartford’s 12, 2011 oppenents.
Additionally, Hartford moved up from its former number six spot to the number 5 spot in the NSCAA Northeast Regional rankings and remain as the only unbeaten squad on the list.
A climb in rankings can be credited to a Hawk offense that has allowed 8 different scorers to contribute to theams 22 goals on the season.
Hartford’s most recent game on Oct. 2 hosted the UNH Wildcats where defense took the main game plan.
Just 90 seconds into the game junior forward Amelia Pereira took the ball and danced around two Wildcat defenders to find the right corner of the goal for a 1-0 early Hartford lead.
“It’s always the game plan to score early, but the plan was never to sit back after our first goal,” said head coach John Natale reflected on the team’s game plan after scoring their first goal.
With the Hawks up early on the Wildcats, the game was put back into the hands of Quinlan went on to racked up a total of seven saves in the first half, including an athletic dive attempt to block a Wildcat straight on shot opportunity.
Hartford gave Quinlan support to win out the game 3-0 with Hawk senior midfielder/defeneder Amanda Lo Bello, who sent a long distance goal from outside the box to just inside the upper left corner of the Wildcat goal for her first collegiate goal, and Hawk graduate student forward/midfielder Mary Beth Hamilton who collected her fourth goal of the season in minute 85.
When the weekend ended there was thing that was made very clear, this University of Hartford women’s team is on a serious mission, and no one in the American East was truly prepared for what this team had in store.
On Sept. 30 Hartford visited Binghamton’s home in the Hawks first game and defensive battle of the weekend.
Both team’s ability to protect their own nets lead to an almost stalemate had it not been Hartford’s superior ability to score first and keep the lead.
In minute 19 Hartford senior Hamilton began her weekend involvement with a crossed ball to Hawk teammate junior forward/midfielder, Caitlin Alves, who chose the lower right corner to be her target as she fired the ball past Martin for her fifth goal of the season.
Binghamton keeper, Carrie Martin, allowed the goal after the Hawks put her on her back heels when they tried to get on the board earlier with two shots within the first five minutes and kept her there with 11 more shots forced her way, which she went on to block.
The Hartford 1-0 lead was soundly held throughout the remained of the game by Quinlan, who did what she does best, putting up numerous blocks as well, including a flurry of shots in the final 20 minutes of the game, to earn her ninth shutout of the season.
Natale said after their exhaustive weekend bouts the key is to get some much-needed rest and come out fresh in their next game at home against Stony Brook on Thursday at 6 p.m.