PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A second-half surge propelled top-seeded Johnson & Wales University to its second straight Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's lacrosse championship Saturday afternoon as the Wildcats defeated second-seeded Lasell College, 20-9, at the Scots Miracle-Grow Complex.
The Wildcats, who reached a school-record with 17 wins (17-2), receive the GNAC's automatic berth into the NCAA Division Championship Tournament, and will learn their opponent on a Sunday evening 10:00 p.m. show on ncaa.com. Lasell had nine-game winning streak snapped and completes the season with a 14-4 mark.
Juniors Juliana Giello (Warwick, N.Y.) and Allison Pazienski (New Hyde Park, N.Y.) led the Wildcats with five goals apiece. Sophomore Maria Patane (Greenwich, N.Y.) contributed three goals and five assists and senior Raquel Pederzani (Coventry, R.I.) had three goals and four assist. Sophomore midfielder Madeline Bishara (Saunderstown, R.I. ) was named Tournament MVP for the Wildcats.
Junior Jordan McComb (Cumberland, R.I.) scored a team-high four goals for Lasell, while junior Vanessa Pino (Tewksbury, Mass.) tallied three goals and two assists and senior Taylor Yandow (Moretown, Vt.) notched two goals. Yandow finishes her senior campaign with a career-high 88 points, including a GNAC second-best 72 goals.
McComb, Yandow, and senior Taylor Falco (Hazlet, N.J.) were all named to the GNAC All-Tournament Team for Lasell.
Yandow put Lasell on the board first just over three minutes into the game, but the Wildcats would answer back with force. Johnson & Wales rattled off five goals in a row to go up 5-1, 10 minutes in. JWU had an 8-2 lead with eight minutes to go but Lasell scored the final four goals of the half, including two by McComb, to close the gap to 8-6 at halftime.
Pino opened the second-half scoring to cut the margin to 8-7, but JWU scored 12 of the next 13 goals to open an insurmountable lead. The Wildcat defense kept Lasell off the scoreboard for nearly 22 minutes.
Goalkeeper sophomore Morgan Choquet (Woonsocket, R.I.) made nine saves for the Lasers. Cassidy O'Hara (Mashpee, Mass.) added three saves for the Wildcats.
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