STANDISH, Maine – Top-seeded Saint Joseph's College (15-1-4, 8-0-1 GNAC) handled #4 Suffolk University (9-10-0, 6-3-0 GNAC), 5-1, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Tournament Semifinal at Westerlea Way Field on Tuesday afternoon.
With the victory, Saint Joseph's advances to the GNAC Championship game for the fourth time in the last eight seasons and will host the winner of the #2 Norwich University / #3 Johnson & Wales University semifinal, which begins at 7:00 PM tonight, at Westerlea Way Field on Saturday afternoon, kick-off TBD.
With the loss, Suffolk's 2016 season comes to a close, save for an ECAC Tournament berth.
Saint Joseph's all but put the game out of reach in the first 10 minutes of play, as freshman Noah Robinson (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.) scored off a Cody Elliott (Gorham, Maine) pass at the 6:13 mark and junior Trevor Lopes (Cumberland, R.I.) made it a 2-0 game with his fourth tally of the year, off a Brett Mattos (Mahopac, N.Y.) feed, four minutes later.
The 2-0 advantage remained until the 58th minute when freshman midfielder JoJo Strobino (Clifton, N.J.) potted an unassisted marker and junior Daniel Fox (South Portland, Maine) and sophomore Jesse Ramirez (Dumont, N.J.) tacked on insurance goals in the 72nd and 82nd minutes, respectively.
The Rams, denied by SJC sophomore keeper Blake Mullen (Manchester, Conn.) on a pair of close range shots in the second stanza, finally found the board in the 88th minute when senior forward Alberto Bittan (Venezuela) took advantage of a defensive lapse and slipped a shot far post past sophomore Zack Moody (Steep Falls, Maine), who entered the game in place of Mullen just minutes earlier.
Saint Joseph's held advantages in shots (19-13), shots on goal (9-5), and corner kicks (10-3) on the afternoon.
For the Monks, Mullen tallied three stops in 83:49 between the pipes while Moody allowed a goal and made one save in 6:11 of mop-up duty. Suffolk freshman netminder Jon Brodeur (Northampton, Mass.) posted three saves in the losing effort.
- Elliott picked up two assists, with helpers on the Robinson and Ramirez tallies, in the victory while sophomore Karitkeya Swarup (Delhi, India) was credited with an assist on the Fox goal at the 71:22 mark
- Suffolk senior defender Alex Ypsilantis (Belmont, Mass.) earned the assist on Bittan's strike after feeding his classmate with a long pass down the left sideline
- Bittan led all players with nine shots, including three on target, on the afternoon
- With the victory, Saint Joseph's sets a new program record for wins in a season - previously the Monks had reached the 14 victory plateau in 2009 and 2011, and won the GNAC Championship in each of those seasons
- The Suffolk goal brought to a close the Monks' eight-game shutout streak, which spanned a total of 868 minutes and 16 seconds dating back to October 1st when St. Joe's allowed an own goal in a 2-1 triumph over Johnson & Wales
With the victory, Saint Joseph's improves to 7-4-1 in the history of the series with Suffolk University, a team the Monks defeated by a 1-0 score on October 19th.
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 474-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.