STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph's College (17-1, 7-0 GNAC) closed out the regular season with a 5-1 victory over Lasell College (13-6, 6-1 GNAC) in Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) field hockey action at the SJC Athletics Complex on Wednesday night.
Trailing 1-0 early, the Monks rattled off three goals in a matter of eight minutes to secure a 3-1 advantage heading into intermission and seniors Kayla Kelly (York, Maine) and Kayla Veilleux (Sabattus, Maine) added insurances strikes in the 37th and 67th minutes, respectively, to account for the 5-1 final.
Both teams entered tonight's game undefeated in conference play and, with the result, Saint Joseph's claims the #1 seed while Lasell falls to the second slot. As the top two seeds, the Monks and Lasers have earned a first-round bye in the GNAC Tournament, which begins with #6 Anna Maria/#3 Colby-Sawyer and #5 Johnson & Wales/#4 Simmons quarterfinal matchups on Saturday.
On Wednesday, Saint Joseph's will host the Johnson & Wales/Simmons winner (7:00 PM) and Lasell hosts the Anna Maria/Colby-Sawyer victor in semifinal contests
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The Lasers scored on their second shot of the game when junior Mindy Esposito (Sunderland, Mass.) converted a penalty corner off a Cailin Flannery (Medford, N.J.) pass at the 4:27 mark.
Off to a slow start offensively, the Monks found their stride and netted the equalizer 14 minutes later when sophomore Alexandria Belaire (Greene, Maine) scored off a Veilleux assist on a penalty corner. Senior Kara Kelly (York, Maine) lifted the hosts to a 2-1 lead when she potted her sixth marker of the season, off an Emma Rutledge (Alfred, Maine) pass, just over three minutes later.
The offensive barrage continued, as junior Libby Pomerleau (Limerick, Maine) potted her 17th goal of the year off a Maddy Beaulieu (West Gardiner, Maine) feed at the 25:53 mark to make it a 3-1 game heading into halftime.
SJC senior Megan Baker (Gorham, Maine) made three saves to pick up her 17th victory of the season while her counterpart, Lasell freshman Sofia Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass.), registered 15 stops in a losing effort.
Saint Joseph's held considerable leads in shots (30-7), shots on goal (20-5), and penalty corners (19-5) in the victory.
Saint Joseph's is now 18-4 all-time versus Lasell College and has now defeated the Lasers in six of the last seven meetings - including a 3-0 GNAC Championship win at Lasell last fall - featuring the conference counterparts.
Prior to the start of the contest, Saint Joseph's held a brief ceremony to honor the program's seven seniors: Baker, Kara and Kayla Kelly, Kayla Veilleux, Arianna Kahler (Lisbon Falls, Maine), Meghan Burke (Falmouth, Mass.), and Samantha Silva (Laconia, N.H.). This group of seniors has enjoyed unprecedented success during their time on the turf, as the 2019 class has helped the Monks post a 59-21 (.738) overall record, including a 23-3 (.885) mark in GNAC play, with a pair of conference titles and subsequent NCAA Tournament berths.