BOSTON, Mass. - Junior forward Haley DaGraca (Saco, Maine) netted three goals to lift Saint Joseph's College (9-4-1, 5-3-1 GNAC) past Simmons College (7-4-2, 5-3-1 GNAC), 4-2, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's soccer contest on Wednesday night. The Monks are now unbeaten in their last five games while the Sharks see a seven-game unbeaten streak come to an end with the setback.
With her third marker of the evening - scored off a Sarah Comtois (Lowell, Mass.) pass in the 38th minute - DaGraca became the Monks' all-time leading goal scorer with 46 tallies in 50 career contests. The reigning GNAC Offensive Player of the Year surpasses Cindy Kamszik '97, who netted 45 career goals and is a member of the Saint Joseph's College Athletics Hall of Fame.
The hat trick was the second of the season for DaGraca and the sixth of her career. Senior defender Emily DeLuca tallied the other Monks goal. Simmons received goals from junior midfielder Cíara Forde (Quincy, Mass.) and classmate Mikayla Elliott (Lowell, Mass.).
The Sharks opened the scoring 6:03 into the match when Forde received a short pass from Elliott and fired a shot on net from nearly 10 yards out, beating the Saint Joseph's keeper to give the home team an early 1-0 lead.
The Monks responded at 22:52 in the match when DaGraca lifted a shot 15 yards out from the near side to the bottom corner of the far post past the hands of the Simmons keeper. The visitors took the lead, when junior forward Emily Thornton (Westbrook, ME) set up DaGraca's second goal with 11:30 to go in the opening half. She escaped multiple defenders with a pass from the right side to DaGraca for a shot up the middle to the near post, making the score 2-1. Just over three minutes later, DaGraca notched her third goal of the match and team-leading 13th of the season, flicking in a ball from 15 yards out on a feed from senior midfielder Sarah Comtois (Lowell, Mass.).
The teams entered halftime with Saint Joseph's holding a 3-1 lead.
The Monks registered their fourth unanswered goal at 12:27into the second half, when DeLuca sent a header just inside the near post off of a corner kick from sophomore defender Peggy Balboni (Millis, Mass.), to give Saint Joseph's a 4-1 margin. The Sharks were able to get another marker on the board late, when senior midfielder Kashka Gammon (Nashua, N.H.) maneuvered through the Saint Joseph's defense and found Elliott for a one-timer past the Monks' goalie for her eighth marker of the season. Simmons trailed, 4-2, with 2:10 remaining in the contest, but that was as close as it would get for the rest of the way.
Senior goalkeeper Casey Halle (Watertown, Mass.) turned away seven shots for Simmons during the 90 minutes with help from senior defender Liz Donovan (Nashua, N.H.), who blocked a pair of shots. Senior netminder Brooke Troup (East Bridgewater, Mass.) recorded double-digit saves, for the first time this season, stopping 10 shots on net for Saint Joseph's.
The Sharks are back in action on Saturday, October 14 when they travel to Providence, R.I., to take on GNAC rival Johnson & Wales University for a 5:00 pm kickoff, while the Monks hit the road as well, heading to New Haven, Conn. to face off against GNAC foe Albertus Magnus College at 3:30 pm on the same day.
THANKS IN LARGE PART TO SIMMONS COLLEGE SPORTS INFORMATION
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.