STANDISH, Maine – Sophomore Kayley Mattos (Mahopac, N.Y.) scored on a penalty kick attempt with 29 seconds left in the first overtime frame to lift Saint Joseph's College (13-2-2, 9-1-1 GNAC) past Johnson & Wales University (12-6-0, 10-1-0 GNAC), 2-1, in a hotly contested Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's soccer contest at the SJC Athletics Complex on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, the defending GNAC Champion Monks have clinched no worse than the #2 seed in the GNAC Tournament, which begins next Saturday with the quarterfinal round. Johnson & Wales currently holds the top spot with a 10-1-0 conference record and 30 points in GNAC play while St. Joe's is just behind with a 9-1-1 league mark and 28 points.
Both teams have one conference game remaining, as on Wednesday the Monks play at Lasell University and the Wildcats host Anna Maria College.
Today's result extends the Monks' undefeated streak to nine games as SJC has not lost a game since falling by a 2-1 margin at Emmanuel College on September 25th.
For the Wildcats, today's setback brings and end to a 12-game winning streak.
HOW IT HAPPENED:
After being outshot by a 27-11 margin during regulation, the Monks applied the majority of the offensive pressure in extra play and the efforts paid off late in the frame when the hosts sprung free on an odd-man rush. With JWU senior keeper Colleen Lynch (New Milford, Conn.) coming out to challenge, freshman Madison Michaud (Presque Isle, Maine) sprinted into the box and flipped a lead pass to Mattos, who shot the ball into an empty net. As the Monks started celebrating, the goal was called off as Michaud was taken down inside the box, a foul that resulted in the aforementioned PK tally.
Johnson & Wales opened the game scoring with a penalty-kick strike in the 29th minute after SJC sophomore goalie Adia Grogan (Kennebunk, Maine) laid out a JWU player with a slide tackle on the right side of the box. Jaclyn Larsen (Florham Park, N.J.) took the attempt and drilled a shot to the upper left corner, lifting her team to a 1-0 edge.
St. Joe's answered less than five minutes later, as senior Jade Jordan (Baldwin, Maine) launched a perfect lead pass to Mattos, who chipped the ball just before Lynch was about to collect it and followed the sphere into a wide open net.
The Monks nearly took the lead in the 43rd minute, as Lynch turned away a free kick taken by Grogan from near midfield but the rebound landed on the foot of Madeline Wood (Madison, Maine), who missed an open net with a shot over the crossbar.
JWU junior midfielder Olivia Cairrao (Bristol, R.I.) just missed knotting the game when she blasted a shot off the crossbar at the 60:51 mark.
Prior to the start of today's contest the Monks held a brief ceremony to honor the program's six seniors: Olivia Alesio (Schenectady, N.Y.), Cori Balam (Lyndeborough, N.H.), Peggy Balboni (Millis, Mass.), Hannah Butler (Melrose, Mass.), Jade Jordan (Baldwin, Maine), and Hailey Tarr (Eliot, Maine). The 2020 senior class has helped Saint Joseph's post a 52-19-6 (.675) overall record, including a 32-8-5 (.711) mark in GNAC play, as well as the program's first GNAC Championship last fall.
Grogan made 14 saves, including several acrobatic stops, and also had a pair of shots on frame off set piece attempts in the victory. Senior Cori Balam (Lyndeborough, N.H.) did not face a shot in nearly three minutes of duty.
Lynch also played well and turned away seven shots in the losing effort.
Johnson & Wales held the lead in shots (28-12), shots on goal (15-9), and corner kicks (2-0) on the afternoon.
Saint Joseph's is now 5-7-4 all-time versus Johnson & Wales University and has defeated the Wildcats in three-consecutive meetings for the first time in the history of the series.
On Wednesday, Saint Joseph's will play at Lasell at 3:00 PM and Johnson & Wales will host Anna Maria at 7:30 PM.