GNAC Quarterfinal Preview: #7 Simmons @ #2 Saint Joseph's

GNAC Quarterfinal Preview: #7 Simmons @ #2 Saint Joseph's

STANDISH, Maine – #2 Saint Joseph's College (13-3, 10-2 GNAC) will host #7 Simmons College (8-7-1, 6-5-1 GNAC) in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Soccer Tournament Quarterfinal game at 12:00 PM on Sunday.

OVERVIEW:

Sunday's winner advances to the semifinal round of the GNAC tourney and will face the victor of the #6 Colby-Sawyer College / #3 Johnson & Wales University quarterfinal on Wednesday.

The other arm of the bracket features quarterfinal contests between #1 Lasell College and #8 University of Saint Joseph (CT) and #4 Emmanuel College versus #5 Regis College.

The winner of the GNAC Championship game, set to be played on Saturday, November 3rd, earns an automatic berth into the 2018 NCAA DIII Women's Soccer Championship, which begins on November 10th.

FACTS & FIGURES:

Saint Joseph's:

  • The Monks head into the tournament ranked second in the GNAC in assists (31) and goals against average (1.06), third in shutouts (6), and fourth in shots (317), goals (42), goals per game (2.63) and corner kicks (80).
  • Saint Joseph's is 6-2 at the SJC Athletics Complex this fall with the Monks suffering losses to the Sharks and Lasell College, both 3-2 setbacks.

Simmons College:

  • The Sharks rank fourth in the GNAC in shot percentage (.143), fifth in goals against average (1.29) and shutouts (5), sixth in corner kicks (74), seventh in assists (19), and eighth in shots (238) and goals (34).
  • The Sharks are 4-4 in road contests this season.

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Saint Joseph's:

  • Senior forward Haley DaGraca (Saco, Maine), a three-time First Team All-GNAC honoree, is having another fine season for the Monks. She ranks first in the conference in goals (17) and points (39) and fourth in game-winners (5)
  • Senior Colleen Sheehan (Medway, Mass.) has been a big contributor this year, despite missing three games due to injury she is tied for the team-lead in assists (6), and ranks second on the squad in goals (5) and points (16).
  • Sophomore McKenzie Murphy (West Baldwin, Maine) has played an important role for the Monks in the midfield this season. She ranks second in shots (43), and third in goals (4) and points (10).

Simmons:

  • Senior midfielder Ciara Forde (Quincy, Mass.), a 2016 and 2017 Second Team All-GNAC selection, is having another great season for the Sharks, as she is tied for third in the conference in goals (13) and points (28).
  • Senior forward Mikayla Elliot (Lowell, Mass.) has netted six goals with five assists for 17 total points
  • Sophomore forward Cierra Martin (Rock Tavern, N.Y.) enters tourney play with five goals and an assist for 11 points

KEEPER COMPARISON:

Saint Joseph's: Freshman Adia Grogan (Kennebunk, Maine) is having a solid freshman season with a 1.05 goals against average and a .802 save percentage with 65 saves in 1,377 minutes in net. The October 15th GNAC Goalie and Rookie of the Week honoree is second in the conference in wins (12) and third in shutouts (5).

Simmons College: Senior Lauren Williams (Bowdoinham, Maine) is also having an impressive season with a 1.30 goals against average and an .807 save percentage with 88 saves in 1,448 minutes between the pipes. She is currently third in the GNAC in save percentage and fourth in goals against average.

ATTITUDE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP:

Saint Joseph's Head Coach Jenelle Harris, now in her sixth season at the helm, is 68-39-7 (.636) overall with a 43-19-5 (.694) record in conference play as the Monks' skipper. Last fall, the two-time GNAC Coach of the Year honoree led the Monks to the conference tournament semifinals, for the second-consecutive season, with a 4-0 quarterfinal win over University of Saint Joseph (CT).

Simmons College Head Coach Erica Shuling, now in her 13th year, has eclipsed the 100-win mark and is the college's all-time winningest coach. She guided the Sharks to a semifinal appearance a year ago after a 2-0 quarterfinal win over Emmanuel College.

THE LAST TIME WE MET:

At home on September 22nd, the Sharks tipped the Monks by a 3-2 score. Forde netted the game winner, her second goal of the match, with eight minutes left to play in regulation. The Monks fell behind 2-0 early in the second half, but came back to tie it with goals from DaGraca and Maddi Cormier (Bangor, Maine).

In net, Grogan made three saves while Williams tallied six stops. Saint Joseph's posted advantages in shots (21-9) and corner kicks (10-3) in the loss.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING:

Saint Joseph's is 7-5-1 in the history of the series with Simmons College and beat the Sharks, 4-2, in the 2017 meeting.

POSTSEASON HISTORY:

The Monks have advanced to the GNAC postseason in 11 of 12 seasons and have played in the semifinal round on four occasions, including last fall when the team fell to eventual conference champion Lasell College, 3-1, on October 31st.

The Sharks will be making their 11th appearance in the GNAC Tournament in the last 13 seasons. Simmons won the GNAC Championship in 2009 and advanced to the title game in 2012 before falling to Lasell.

Saint Joseph's and Simmons last met in the playoffs in 2016, when the Monks defeated the Sharks by a 3-1 score in Standish.

 

#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.