STANDISH, Maine – Saint Joseph's College closed out the regular season with a 5-1 victory over Lasell College in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) field hockey showdown at the SJC Athletics Complex on Wednesday night.
Both teams entered the game undefeated in conference play and, with the result, Saint Joseph's claims the #1 seed while Lasell falls to the second slot. As the top two seeds, the Monks and Lasers have earned a first-round bye in the GNAC Tournament, which begins with #6 Anna Maria/#3 Colby-Sawyer and #5 Johnson & Wales/#4 Simmons quarterfinal matchups on Saturday.
Next Wednesday, Saint Joseph's (17-1, 7-0 GNAC) will host the Johnson & Wales/Simmons winner (7:00 p.m.) and Lasell (13-6, 6-1 GNAC) hosts the Anna Maria/Colby-Sawyer victor (3:00 p.m.) in semifinal contests.
Trailing 1-0 early, the Monks rattled off three goals in a matter of eight minutes to secure a 3-1 advantage heading into intermission and seniors Kayla Kelly (York, Maine) and Kayla Veilleux (Sabattus, Maine) added insurances strikes in the 37th and 67th minutes, respectively, to account for the 5-1 final.
Off to a slow start offensively, the Monks found their stride and netted the equalizer 14 minutes later when sophomore Alexandria Belaire (Greene, Maine) scored off a Veilleux assist on a penalty corner. Senior Kara Kelly (York, Maine) lifted the hosts to a 2-1 lead when she potted her sixth marker of the season, off an Emma Rutledge (Alfred, Maine) pass, just over three minutes later.
The offensive barrage continued, as junior Libby Pomerleau (Limerick, Maine) potted her 17th goal of the year off a Maddy Beaulieu (West Gardiner, Maine) feed at the 25:53 mark to make it a 3-1 game heading into halftime.
SJC senior Megan Baker (Gorham, Maine) made three saves to pick up her 17th victory of the season while her counterpart, Lasell freshman Sofia Rodriguez (Peabody, Mass.), registered 15 stops in a losing effort.
Saint Joseph's held considerable leads in shots (30-7), shots on goal (20-5), and penalty corners (19-5) in the victory.
Saint Joseph's has now defeated the Lasers in six of the last seven meetings - including a 3-0 GNAC Championship win at Lasell last fall. Lasell had upset the Monks in the regular season contest.
Prior to the start of the contest, Saint Joseph's held a brief ceremony to honor the program's seven seniors: Baker, Kara and Kayla Kelly, Kayla Veilleux, Arianna Kahler (Lisbon Falls, Maine), Meghan Burke (Falmouth, Mass.), and Samantha Silva (Laconia, N.H.).
(Courtesy of Saint Joseph's Athletic Communications)
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