STANDISH, Maine – Top seeded Saint Joseph's College (17-3, 8-0 GNAC) will host #2 Lasell University (10-9, 5-3 GNAC) in the 2019 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Field Hockey Championship at 1:00 PM on Saturday, November 9th.
HOW THEY GOT HERE
After claiming the top seed in the GNAC Tournament for the fourth time in the last six seasons, Saint Joseph's earned a first-round bye. The Monks advanced to the title game with a 5-0 semifinal victory over #5 Regis College on Wednesday.
As the #2 seed Lasell also collected a first-round bye and moved on to the title bout with a 2-0 win over #3 Simmons University in semifinal action on Wednesday.
First Round - Saturday, November 2 (at high seeds)
Match 1: #5 Regis def. #4 Anna Maria, 1-0 - BOX
Match 2: #3 Simmons def. #6 JWU, 4-3 (2OT) - BOX
Semifinals - Wednesday, November 6 (at high seeds)
Match 3: #1 Saint Joseph's def. #5 Regis, 5-0 - BOX
Match 4: #2 Lasell def. #3 Simmons, 2-0 - BOX
Championship - Saturday, November 9
Match 5: #2 Lasell @ #1 Saint Joseph's, 1:00 PM
The GNAC Champion earns an automatic berth into the 2019 NCAA DIII Field Hockey Tournament, which begins on Wednesday, November 13th.
LAST TIME OUT:
Saint Joseph's advances to the GNAC Championship game for the fifth-consecutive season after toppling fifth-seeded Regis College by a 5-0 score in semifinal action on Wednesday.
Junior defender Alexandra Belaire (Greene, Maine) led the offensive onslaught with two goals and a pair of assists for six total points while Alexa Gutowski (Conway, N.H.), Logan Champlin (Alfred, Maine), and Kylee Veilleux (Sabattus, Maine) contributed a goal apiece in the one-sided victory.
The Monks held sizeable leads in shots (19-3), shots on goal (11-0), and penalty corners (15-5) and junior goalkeeper Alexandria Simpson (Pascoag, R.I.) was not forced to make a save in the shutout effort.
In Lasell's 2-0 semifinal triumph over Simmons, freshman Mya Maxim (South China, Maine) and junior Megan Horrigan (Wakefield, Mass.) found the back of the cage and sophomore keeper Sofia Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass.) turned away eight shots for her third shutout of the season.
The Lasers held advantages in shots (17-10) and shots on goal (14-8) and faced a 6-5 deficit in penalty corners on the afternoon.
FACTS & FIGURES:
- Including tournament games, the Monks have not lost to a GNAC team since 2017, a streak of 22 games – the team's last loss versus a conference foe was a 2-1 setback at Lasell on October 7th, 2017
- The Monks currently rank first in the conference in goals scored (58), shots (348), shots on goals (233), shots-per game (17.4), assists (44), penalty corners (221), goals against average (1.04), goals per game (2.9), and save percentage (.784)
- Saint Joseph's is 10-1 at the SJC Athletics Complex this fall with the lone loss being a 1-0 setback at the hands of non-conference opponent Babson College
- All three of the Monks' losses this fall have come at the hands of nationally ranked opponents - #9 Kean University, #15 Babson, and #19 Colby College
- The Lasers rank as the GNAC leader in shot percentage (.179) with 42 goals on 234 shots and are third in the conference in goals, and fourth in shots on goal (159) and penalty corners (134)
- Lasell is 4-6 in away games this fall with a 2-2 mark in conference play on the road; the Lasers defeated Albertus Magnus and Johnson & Wales and fell to Rivier and Colby-Sawyer in GNAC games not in Newton
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Sophomore Emma Rutledge (Alfred, Maine) leads the team in goals (12), points (31), and shots (60)
- Belaire leads the conference in assists (12) and has eight goals (including four game-winners) for a total of 28 points with three defensive saves
- Senior Libby Pomerleau (Limerick, Maine), the 2017 and 2018 GNAC Player of the Year, has tallied six goals and five assists for 17 total points and ranks as the Monks' all-time leader in goals (64), points (154), and game-winners (22)
- Gutowski and Jacques have contributed 18 points apiece this season
- Senior Sam Taylor (Hanover, Mass.) once again leads the Lasers with 12 goals and nine assists for 33 total points
- Maxim has enjoyed a strong freshman season with seven goals, including a trio of game-clinchers
- Horrigan and Rebecca Duke (Ijamsville, Md.) have both tallied 11 points
- Simpson leads the conference in goals-against average (1.07) and victories (16) and ranks second in shutouts (5), third in minutes (1,067:14) and fewest goals allowed (19), and fourth in save percentage (.782)
- Rodriguez is third in the GNAC in save percentage (.783), fourth in fewest goals allowed (24), fifth in goals against average (1.88) and shutouts, and sixth in saves (86) over nearly 766 minutes in net
ATTITUDE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP:
Saint Joseph's Head Coach Rupert Lewis, in his 15th season as the Monks' skipper is 192-92 (.676) with a 37-3 (.925) record in GNAC play over the last six seasons. Under his watch the Monks have won three-consecutive GNAC Championships (2016, 2017, 2018) with a trio of NCAA Tournament appearances. In 2016, Saint Joseph's advanced to the NCAA 'Sweet 16' with an opening round victory over Montclair State University, which was ranked 10th nationally at the time.
Caitlin Connolly, now in her 10th season as the head coach of the Lasell field hockey team, owns a 94-97 (.492) career record and was selected as the 2015 and 2017 GNAC Coach of the Year. On top of her impressive field hockey success, she is also the head coach of Lasell women's lacrosse team and guided the Lasers to GNAC Championships in 2013 and 2016.
THE LAST TIME WE MET:
Saint Joseph's blanked Lasell by a 3-0 margin in Newton, Massachusetts on October 19th. The Monks received goals from three freshmen, as first-years Megan Quirion (Oakland, Maine), Alexa Gutowski (Conway, N.H.), and Sophia Jacques (Peru, Maine) hit pay dirt and Simpson made three saves in what was the first shutout performance of her collegiate career.
St. Joe's held considerable leads in shots (17-3), shots on goal (11-3), and penalty corners (11-4) in the triumph. Rodriguez made five saves in the losing effort.
Saint Joseph's is 19-4 in the history of the series with Lasell University with wins in nine of the last 10 meetings with the Lasers. The Monks have outscored the Lasers by an aggregate 64-18 score with 10 shutout wins in the 23 meetings.
The Monks, winners of the 2016, 2017 and 2018 conference crowns, have never missed the postseason in 12 years as a member of a conference and will be playing in the conference championship game for the ninth time in the last 12 years on Saturday. Overall, St. Joe's is 15-8 in conference tournament play.
In 2016, Saint Joseph's edged Simmons, 1-0, in the GNAC Championship and proceeded to defeat #10 Montclair State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Monks' first-ever NCAA tourney triumph.
In 2017, the second-seeded Monks upset the top-seeded Lasers – on their home field – with a 3-0 GNAC Championship victory and suffered a 2-1 loss at the hands of University of New England in the NCAA Tournament.
Last fall, St. Joe's toppled Lasell, 4-0, at the SJC Athletics Complex to advance to the NCAA Tournament for the third-consecutive season. The Monks fell to Endicott College, 3-1, in the opening round of the national tourney.
The Lasers are 4-11 in conference tournament play since 2008 with all four triumphs coming in the last four seasons. The two programs – former North Atlantic Conference (NAC) foes – have met four times in the postseason with the Monks prevailing in all four meetings: a 4-1 win in a 2013 NAC quarterfinal, a 3-1 triumph in a 2016 GNAC semifinal, and the aforementioned GNAC Championship wins in each of the last two seasons.