NEWTON, Mass. – There is a new women's soccer champion in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC).
Tournament MVP Haley DaGraca (Saco, Maine) was the hero for Saint Joseph's College of Maine, as the senior forward netted the lone goal in the 60th minute of the GNAC Championship game to lift the Monks to their first ever conference title with a 1-0 triumph over Lasell College Sunday afternoon at Taylor Field.
Saint Joseph's, 16-3-0, awaits its seeding in the NCAA Division III National Tournament, as the bracket will be announced Monday, November 5 at 1:30 p.m. on NCAA.org.
Lasell's loss ends an eight-year GNAC championship run. The Lasers complete the season at 14-6-0.
In the loss, the Lasers outshot the Monks 17-8, including 10-2 in the second half. Senior Carly Zdanek (Newton, N.J.) created multiple chances for the Lasers, as well as had a game-high seven shots in the defeat.
Saint Joseph's and Lasell were unable to capitalize on chances during the first half. Lasell edged out Saint Joseph's 7-2 on corner-kicks, included 4-2 in the first stanza.
In the second half, Lasell took control early, with three shots before a turnover in the middle of the field led to the Monks grabbing the advantage. DeGraca connected on a pass from Colleen Sheehan (Medway, Mass.) from the right corner, heading the ball past Lasell goalkeeper Angela Sanzari (North Haven, Conn.)
The loss marks the first GNAC loss on Taylor Field since October 15, 2011, when the Monks defeated the Lasers 1-0. Coming into the 2018 GNAC Championship, the Lasers had amassed a 60-0-1 record versus conference opponents at home.
Saint Joseph's goalkeep Adia Grogan (Kennebunk, Maine) had 10 saves for the Monks to secure the victory. Sanzari had three saves for the Lasers.
DaGraca was joined on the GNAC All-Tournament Team by Sheehan, Grogan, Emily Thornton (Westbrook, Maine) and Madeline Wood (Madison, Maine). Sabrina Morais (Arlington, Mass.) and Caitlin Rotonnelli (Meredith, N.H.) joined Zdanek as members of the All-Tournament Team for Lasell.
2018 GNAC Women's Soccer All-Tournament Team
Kaylin Deschenes, Emmanuel
Lexi Gawron, Emmanuel
Deja Hersey, JWU
Kayla Juliana, JWU
Sabrina Morais, Lasell
Caitlin Rotonnelli, Lasell
Carly Zdanek, Lasell
Colleen Sheehan, St. Joe's
Emily Thornton, St. Joe's
Madeline Wood, St. Joe's
Adia Grogan, St. Joe's
Haley DaGraca, St. Joe's (MVP)
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