PORTLAND, Maine – Sixth-seeded Simmons College (8-11, 3-6 GNAC) tipped #2 Saint Joseph's College (13-4, 8-1 GNAC), 11-10, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Lacrosse Tournament Semifinal on a rain-soaked Friday evening at Deering Memorial Stadium.
With the victory, Simmons advances and will face-off against #1 Johnson & Wales University in the GNAC Championship in Providence at 1:00 PM Sunday. The Cinderella story continues for the Sharks, who upset #3 Lasell College –the reigning conference champs, with a 15-7 triumph in quarterfinal action on Wednesday.
For the Monks, the loss signals the abrupt ending of the 2017 season and the collegiate lacrosse career of senior captain Jackie Wilson (Tiverton, R.I.). The four-year starter helped lead the Royal Blue to a 58-17 (.773) overall record with an otherworldly 34-3 (.919) mark in GNAC play and registered 100 goals, 52 assists, 250 ground balls, 322 draw controls, and 111 caused turnovers during her outstanding career.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
The Sharks netted four unanswered goals to start the game, as junior Kasey Fries (Bridgewater, Mass.) and sophomore Mallory Cottam (Hope, R.I.) scored a pair apiece to lift the visitors to a 4-0 advantage with 16:13 left in the opening frame.
The Monks' offense finally hit pay dirt when junior Elyse Caiazzo (Scarborough, Maine/Cheverus) scored a free-position goal – the 200th tally of her NCAA career - at the 14:13 mark and the strike ignited a 6-2 run for the hosts as the tourney tilt headed into intermission tied, 6-6.
In the second stanza, St. Joe's potted five of the first six goals – including a pair from Caiazzo – to earn their largest lead of the game, 10-7, with 12:55 remaining, but Simmons took advantage of several costly turnovers down the stretch and closed out the game with four-consecutive strikes, with Cottom netting the eventual game-winner with 2:17 left.
SJC freshman Kaylin Mansir (West Gardiner, Maine) made a pair of saves in the loss while Simmons junior Chyenne Yeager (Indiana, Pa.) posted six stops in the winning effort.
LEADERS – SAINT JOSEPH'S:
- Caiazzo tallied game-highs in goals (5) and ground balls (7) and added a pair of draw controls
- Wilson scored twice with six ground balls, four draw controls, and four caused turnovers
- Sophomore Kayla Kelly (York, Maine) chipped in with a goal, two assists, six ground balls, and a pair of caused turnovers
- Junior Brianne Maloney (South Portland, Maine) added four caused turnovers
LEADERS – SIMMONS:
- Cottam paced the Sharks' offensive efforts with four goals
- Fries netted three goals with an assist and three draw controls
- Sophomore Ana Giarrusso (Hingham, Mass.) chimed in with two goals, two ground balls, two draw controls, and a pair of caused turnovers
- Sophomore Elena Bragg (Belmont, Mass.) scored a goal with three ground balls, six draw controls, and four caused turnovers
With the loss, Saint Joseph's falls to 5-6 in the history of the series with Simmons College. The Monks defeated the Sharks, 13-10, in Boston earlier this season (4/15).
Caiazzo, already the program's all-time points leader (251), is just the third Saint Joseph's player to reach the 200-goal plateau and – with 204 career tallies - trails only Cassie Diplock '14 (210) and Alyssa Marchant '11 (203) on the Monks' all-time goal scoring list.
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.