GNAC Championship Preview: #2 Johnson & Wales @ #1 Saint Joseph's

GNAC Championship Preview: #2 Johnson & Wales @ #1 Saint Joseph's

STANDISH, Maine – Top-seeded Saint Joseph's College (18-0-0, 11-0-0 GNAC) will host #2 Johnson & Wales University (12-5-3, 8-2-1 GNAC) in the 2018 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Men's Soccer Championship on Sunday at 3:00 PM.

BRACKETOLOGY:

Friday, October 26 - Quarterfinals

Game 1: #1 Saint Joseph's 1, #8 Emmanuel 0 | BOX

Game 2: #4 Colby-Sawyer 2, #5 Albertus Magnus 0 | BOX

Game 4: #2 Johnson & Wales 1, #7 Regis 0 | BOX

Game 3: #3 Norwich 2, #6 Saint Joseph (CT) 1 | BOX

Tuesday, October 30 - Semifinals

Game 5: #1 Saint Joseph's 2, #4 Colby-Sawyer 0 | BOX

Game 6: #2 Johnson & Wales 2, #3 Norwich 0 | BOX

Sunday, November 4 - Final

Game 7: #2 Johnson & Wales @ #1 Saint Joseph's – 3:00 PM

WHAT'S NEXT?

The winner of the GNAC Championship game earns an automatic berth into the 2018 NCAA DIII Men's Soccer Championship, which begins on Saturday, November 10th.

LAST TIME OUT:

Saint Joseph's, ranked fifth and ninth in the latest D3soccer.com and United Soccer Coaches national polls, respectively, blanked fourth-seeded Colby-Sawyer College, 2-0, in a semifinal matchup at the SJC Athletics Complex on Tuesday night.

Junior Jackson Taylor (Gorham, Maine) tallied a goal and an assist and senior Rory Twomey (South Windsor, Conn.) potted his fourth goal of the year in the hard fought victory.

Saint Joseph's held sizeable advantages in shots (35-3), shots on goal (20-0), and corner kicks (8-1) in the playoff triumph.

Johnson & Wales defeated #3 Norwich University by the same 2-0 score in semifinal action in Providence on Tuesday evening. Senior Teagan Drake (Waterbury, Vt.) scored on a PK attempt in the fourth minute and senior Riley McNicholas (Hopkinton, N.H.) doubled the lead with his 10th goal of the season, scored in the 33rd minute off an Andrew Vecere (Wayne, N.J.) pass.

Senior goalkeeper Nicholas Mancini (Toms River, N.J.) made six tops to notch his sixth clean sheet of the season and JWU maintained a slight edge in shots (18-13) and corner kicks (6-5) in the triumph.

SEASON AT A GLANCE:

Saint Joseph's:

  • Through 19 games, Saint Joseph's has outscored opponents by a collective 76-1 score with a 480-80 shots advantage
  • After posting a 19-0-2 record in 2017, the Monks have extended their undefeated streak to 40 games, the longest active streak in NCAA DIII Men's Soccer and the sixth-longest streak in NCAA DIII Men's Soccer history
  • Saint Joseph's currently leads NCAA DIII Men's Soccer in save percentage (.970), shutout percentage (.947), goals against average (0.050), shots on goal per game (12.95), total goals (76), and won-lost-tied percentage (1.000) and ranks second in total points (209), assists per game (3.00), points per game (11.00), shots per game (25.26), and total assists (57).
  •  The Monks are now 27-0-3 in their last 30 home games with the team's last loss being a 2-0 setback at the hands of University of New England on September 4th, 2016; this stretch includes a 20-0-1 record at the SJC Athletics Complex

Johnson & Wales:

  • The Wildcats rank second in the GNAC in shots (315), goals (42), assists (27), and corner kicks (117) and third in shots per game (15.8), shots on goal (146), and shutouts (6)
  • JWU enters the championship game having won five of the last six games, three via shutout
  • Johnson & Wales has allowed more than one goal in just five different games this season
  • JWU is 4-3-1 in road games this fall, with wins over Lasell (5-1), Suffolk (2-1), Saint Joseph (CT) (2-1), and Anna Maria (5-1) and losses to the Monks (3-1), Norwich (1-0), and Rhode Island College (4-1); the Wildcats played to a 3-3 tie with Salve Regina on October 3rd

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Saint Joseph's:

  • Senior forward Brett Mattos (Mahopac, N.Y.) - the Monks' all-time leader in goals (50), points (122), and game-winners (18) – currently leads the GNAC in goals (11), points (26), and GWG (4)
  • Junior midfielder Cody Elliott (Gorham, Maine) leads the conference in assists (14) and ranks third in points (24)
  • Junior defender Noah Robinson (Wappingers Falls, N.Y.), who does a bit of everything for the Monks, is tied for the GNAC lead in GWG and has eight goals and 20 total points this fall

Johnson & Wales:

  • Senior Riley McNicholas (Hopkinton, N.H.) is third in the GNAC in goals (10), fourth in points (21), and fifth in game-winning goals (3)
  • Senior Teagan Drake (Waterbury, Vt.) is second in the conference in PK goals (3-3), fourth in goals (9) and shots (56), and fifth in points (20) and game-winners (3)
  • Freshman Nick Gutekunst (East Northport, N.Y.) and JP Rioux (Stony Point, N.Y.) have enjoyed fine NCAA debut seasons, as the former has scored seven goals with 15 total points and the latter has contributed 15 points with five goals and five assists

KEEPER COMPARISON:

Saint Joseph's:

Senior Blake Mullen (Manchester, Conn.), a two-time GNAC Goalkeeper of the Year and 2017 D3soccer.com Second Team All-American, currently leads the country in goals-against average (0.066) and save percentage (.960) and is the NCAA Men's Soccer (all levels) active leader, by a wide margin, in career goals-against average (0.250) and is second among active players in save percentage (.906) and shutouts (35).

Sophomore David Walbridge (Hampden, Mass.) has seen increased time in net this fall with 351:18 minutes of shutout play while making eight stops and notching a pair of shutouts.

Johnson & Wales:

The Wildcats have employed a pair of keepers this fall, as senior Nicholas Mancini (Toms River, N.J.) has played and started in 11 games – including both postseason tilts – and junior Adam Cassidy (Jersey City, N.J.) has started eight contests and played in 10 games overall.

Mancini sports a 0.81 goals-against average with a .795 save percentage – 35 saves and nine goals allowed in 997 minutes – and four shutouts. Cassidy owns a 1.37 GAA with a .750 save percentage – 36 saves and 12 goals yielded in 788 minutes – with one clean sheet.

ATTITUDE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP:

Saint Joseph's Head Coach Adrian Dubois, now in his fifth season as the Monks' sideline general, owns a 69-24-9 (.690) career record, including a 37-9-2 (.770) mark in GNAC play and is the winningest coach in SJC men's soccer history. This fall, the back-to-back GNAC Coach of the Year honoree guided St. Joe's to the first perfect conference record since 2011, when Albertus Magnus College went 10-0-0 versus GNAC foes.

Under his watch, Saint Joseph's has evolved from a 5-15-0 team in 2014 to a nationally-ranked program. Last fall, Dubois helped lead the Monks to their first-ever NCAA Tournament victory, a 2-1 triumph over Mitchell College, and a 19-0-2 final record after falling to reigning national champion Tufts University in PK's in the second round.

David Kulik became the head men's soccer coach at Johnson & Wales University in April of 2012. In his career at JWU, the team has posted an impressive 95-32-18  (.655) record – including a 49-12-6 (.731) mark in conference play, won two GNAC regular season championships (2014, 2015) as well as three GNAC tournament championships (2013, 2014, 2015).

THE LAST TIME WE MET:

Saint Joseph's rallied from an early 1-0 deficit with three unanswered goals to defeat Johnson & Wales at the SJC Athletics Complex on September 15th. The Wildcats are the only team to score against the Monks in 1,800 minutes this season.

The visiting Wildcats grabbed an early lead when freshman midfielder Nick Gutekunst (East Northport, N.Y.) scored in the 12th minute. Scored off a corner kick, Gutekunst collected the ball after the Monks failed to clear and buried a shot to the lower left corner.

Having not trailed in a game since falling to Brandeis University in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament, the Monks were unfazed by the deficit and proceeded to pour on pressure in their offensive third.

The efforts paid off late in the half, as the hosts scored twice in a matter of 90 seconds to secure the lead, as freshman Kuma Onyejose (East Greenwich, R.I.) tied the game with a header off a Jesse Ramirez (Dumont, N.J.) corner kick at the 40:38 mark and junior Mitchell Duncan (Sanford, Maine) netted the game-winner off an Austin Ward (North Andover, Mass.) feed with 2:58 before the break.

Saint Joseph's tacked on an insurance goal in the 78th minute, when Ramirez found the back of the net off a Jonathan Brackett (Hollis, N.H.) dish.

Saint Joseph's held the advantage in shots (15-4), shots on goal (6-4), and corner kicks (5-1) in the victory. Saint Joseph's senior Blake Mullen (Manchester, Conn.) made three saves to notch his 46th career victory while his counterpart, Johnson & Wales senior Nicholas Mancini (Toms River, N.J.), steered away three shots in a losing effort.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING:

Saint Joseph's is 10-7 all-time versus Johnson & Wales University and has defeated the Wildcats in three-consecutive meetings. Prior to the September matchup, the Monks had not scored as many as three goals versus JWU since topping their conference counterpart by a 4-2 margin on October 10th, 2011.

POSTSEASON HISTORY:

The Monks have advanced to the GNAC Tournament every season since the College joined the conference in the fall of 2007. Saint Joseph's is 15-7 in GNAC postseason play with GNAC Championships in 2009, 2011, 2016 and 2017.

The Wildcats have appeared in the GNAC Tournament every season since Coach Kulik arrived in 2012 and, including the two wins last week, have a 12-2-2 record in postseason contests over the last seven years. JWU won GNAC Championships in 2013, 2014, and 2015 but have lost in the semifinal round to Norwich in each of the last two seasons. 

Sunday's GNAC Tournament meeting between the Monks and Wildcats will be the fifth since Saint Joseph's joined the conference in 2007. SJC defeated JWU in 2008 (1-0) and 2009 (3-0) and suffered losses to the Wildcats in 2007 (4-3) and 2014 (2-0). All four of the previous meetings were quarterfinal contests.

 

#GOMONKS

 

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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.