Quinlivan’s Record-setting Season Helps Cougars Land No. 1 Seed
DALLAS — It was a familiar feeling and one the Misericordia women’s lacrosse team was tired of.
Last year the Cougars left the field at FDU-Florham as MAC Freedom runners-up after an 11-9 loss in the conference title game. It was the fourth straight year Misericordia lost in the championship at FDU.
“Leaving that field at FDU last season left a sour taste in everybody’s mouths,” Misericordia’s Kaila Quinlivan said. “From that point a year ago almost, everyone’s been waiting to get that game back. Everyone’s been putting the work in. If there’s a tough practice, we just get the work done and think it’ll all be worth it when we get that No. 1 seed. Now we need to finish it Wednesday and Saturday.”
For her part, Quinlivan embarked on a record-setting junior season, helping the team to a perfect MAC Freedom mark. They will host the conference tournament starting tonight at 7 p.m. against fourth-seed King’s. A victory would allow the Cougars to host the MAC Freedom championship Saturday.
“It’s been pretty exciting for our program,” Quinlivan said of the season. “I think it’s a testament to the hard work everyone’s been putting in.
We had a coaching change at the beginning of the season but everyone’s taken it in stride. As a team we’ve really come together, so we’ve been able to have a lot of individual success but it’s really all stemming from the success the team’s been having.”
Mat Faas took over the program this year and found the fire burning brightly inside the group to reach new heights.
“Coming in, I saw a talented group that hungry to win and get over that hump,” Faas said. “I think this team’s exceeded my expectations. They’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do. They’ve put in the work and I think they’re ready to play their best lacrosse in May.”
Quinlivan said since Day 1 the focus for her team has been to get to the lofty position it currently enjoys.
“The past couple years we’ve made it to that championship game, but we just couldn’t break past that point and beat FDU,” she said. “I think everyone’s been hungry to get that No. 1 seed. Everyone came out fired up, everyone’s been working hard in the offseason, all season long to get there. It’s been showing.”
Along the way, Quinlivan has been spreading her name all across Misericordia’s record book.
Her 91 points this season broke the school record of 85 she tied last year. Her 34 assists tied the school record. She’s set school career marks in points and assists and has moved into fourth place in career goals.
“It’s pretty humbling actually,” Quinlivan said. “There’s been so many great athletes that came before me, and so many great athletes on the team now. It’s pretty cool to be considered one of the bigger names, but my teammates make it all possible. So many of my goals are assisted so that’s someone else putting in the work to get me those looks.”
Faas says several factors combine together to make her a top offensive player.
“I think part of it is her leadership, part of it is her unselfishness and the other part is her skill set,” Faas said. “She has them all. All of those things make her a complete player. When she’s out there she sees her teammates open. She’s able to lead her teammates when they need to be led. She’s able to step up when we need someone to step up for us.”
She’s done that time and time again and it’s brought her and her team to the brink of accomplishing all their goals.
“It’s all excitement, playoff lacrosse, this is what we work all year for,” Quinlivan said. “We need to come out hard (today). If we do what we need to do and play tough, hopefully we can advance to Saturday. We want to go to NCAAs, that’s our goal. We need to get the work done this week.”