GNAC Championship Preview: #2 Saint Joseph's @ #1 Lasell

GNAC Championship Preview: #2 Saint Joseph's @ #1 Lasell

STANDISH, Maine – #2 Saint Joseph's College (15-3, 10-2 GNAC) will play at #1 Lasell College (14-5, 11-1 GNAC) in the 2018 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Soccer Championship on Sunday at 1:00 PM.

BRACKETOLOGY:

Friday, October 26, Sunday, October 28 - First Round

Game 1: #1 Lasell 2, #8 Saint Joseph (Conn.) 1 - 2OT l BOX

Game 2: #4 Emmanuel 1, #6 Regis 0 l BOX

Game 3: #3 Johnson & Wales 10, #6 Colby-Sawyer 0 l BOX

Game 4: #2 Saint Joseph's 2, #7 Simmons 1 l BOX

Wednesday, October 31 - Semifinals

Game 5: #1 Lasell 1, #4 Emmanuel 0 - OT l BOX

Game 6: #2 Saint Joseph's 4, #3 Johnson & Wales 2 l BOX

Sunday, November 4 - Final

Game 7: #2 Saint Joseph's at #1 Lasell - 1:00 PM

WHAT'S NEXT?

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

LAST TIME OUT:

Saint Joseph's battled Johnson & Wales to a 4-2 victory in a physical contest on Wednesday. The Monks struck early in the match when Madeline Wood (Madison, Maine) followed up a shot and slid the rebound passed the Wildcat keeper. The Wildcats answered fourteen minutes later on a strike from Deja Hursey (Columbia, Maryland). The Monks were lead offensively in the second half by Emily Thornton (Westbrook, Maine), who scored a hat trick over the span of eight minutes to push the Monks out ahead 4-1. Hursey netted her second goal in the 79th minutes to cut the Monks' lead to 4-2.

Freshman goalie Adia Grogan (Kennebunk, Maine) had a stellar game in net for the Monks racking up ten saves. Johnson & Wales held the advantage in shots (20-15), shots on goal (12-6), and corners (6-0).

Lasell required extra play to defeat #4 Emmanuel College, 1-0, in other semifinal action on Wednesday, as senior Morgan Pinksto (Pelham, N.H.) broke a scoreless tie with 55 seconds to play in the first overtime to launch the Lasers into the program's ninth consecutive GNAC Championship game.

Lasell freshman netminder Angela Sanzari (North Haven, Conn.) posted two saves in the victory while the Lasers held the lead in shots (24-3), shots on goal (15-2), and corners (10-1).

FACTS & FIGURES:

Saint Joseph's:

  • The Monks currently rank second in the GNAC in assists (37), third in shots (345) and shots per game (19.2), fourth in goals (48), corner kicks (84), and shutouts (6), and fifth in shots on goal (174)
  • Saint Joseph's is 7-1 in road games this fall – the team's only loss came at USM on October 24th; the Monks have outscored opponents by a 14-5 aggregate score in eight away games

 Lasell:

  • The Lasers lead the conference in goals per game (3.00) and rank second in in goals (57), corner kicks (115) and shots per game (19.8), and third in assists (28), shot percentage (.152), and fewest goals allowed (21)
  • The Lasers are 9-2 at home this fall, suffering their only defeats to Oswego (2-1) and Western Connecticut (1-0); Lasell has won five-consecutive games at Taylor Field

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 (18), points (42) and game-winners (6)
  • 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 (7), and is tied for third on the squad in goals (5) and points (17)
  • Sophomore McKenzie Murphy (West Baldwin, Maine) has played an important role for the Monks in the midfield this season; she ranks second on the team in shots (49) and is tied for third in goals (5) and fourth in points (12)
  • Following her hat trick performance versus Johnson & Wales, senior Emily Thornton (Westbrook, Maine) is second on the team in goals (7) and third in points (14)

Lasell:

  • Senior forward Carly Zdanek (Newton, N.J.), the reigning GNAC offensive player of the year, is having another fine season for the Lasers, leading the team in goals (10), points (24), shots (88), and assists (5)
  • Senior midfielder Erika Badger (Scituate, Mass.), a 2017 Third Team All-GNAC honoree, is having a good season, ranking second on the team in goals (9) and third in assists (3)
  • Junior forward Caitlin Rotonnelli (Meredith, N.H.) is in the midst of a splendid season for the Lasers, as she ranks first on the team in assists (5) and game winners (3) and third in goals (6) and points (17)

KEEPER COMPARISON:

Saint Joseph's:

Freshman Adia Grogan (Kennebunk, Maine) is having a solid freshman season with a 1.10 goals against average and an .804 save percentage with 78 saves in 1,558 minutes in net; the October 15th GNAC Goalie and Rookie of the Week honoree leads the GNAC in wins and ranks second in minutes and GAA, and third in save percentage and shutouts (5)

Lasell:

Freshman Keeper Angela Sanzari (North Haven, Conn.) is having a solid year and ranks fourth in the conference in wins (11) and goals against average (1.28) and seventh in save percentage (.796)

ATTITUDE REFLECTS LEADERSHIP:

Saint Joseph's Head Coach Jenelle Harris, now in her sixth season at the helm, is 70-39-7 (.660) overall with a 45-19-5 (.652) 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).

Vito La Francesca, now in his twelfth season as the head coach of the Lasers, is looking to bring his program to the NCAA tournament for a ninth consecutive season. He has a cumulative record of 167-61-15. His teams have qualified for the conference tournament every season since he has been at the helm.

THE LAST TIME WE MET:

Lasell edged Saint Joseph's, 3-2, at the SJC Athletic Complex on Wednesday, October 3rd. The Lasers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first half on goals from Zdanek, Badger, and Serena Speight (Biddeford, Maine). The Monks got within one on goals from Brenna Smith (Maynard, Mass.) and Thornton.

Grogan made four saves for the Monks while Sanzari made three saves for the Lasers.

The Lasers held a 10-6 advantage in shots and 9-1 advantage in corners.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING:

Saint Joseph's is 5-9-2 in the history of the series with Lasell College and has not defeated the Lasers since 2011.

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. This marks the first time that the Monks will compete in the GNAC Championship game.

The Lasers topped Johnson & Wales 2-0 in 2017 GNAC Championship game to claim their eighth straight conference title and subsequent NCAA Tournament berth.

 

#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.