WINTHROP, Mass. – After longtime Great Northeast Athletic Conference powerhouse Lasell College had won every conference championship since 2010, Saint Joseph's College of Maine captured its first-ever title in women's soccer last fall with a 1-0 victory on the road over the Lasers.
Despite losing 2018 GNAC Offensive Player of the Year Haley DaGraca, seventh-year head coach Jenelle Harris and her Monks program still received six of a possible 13 first-place votes for 159 points to lead the way in the 2019 GNAC Preseason Poll, as voted upon by the league's head coaches.
Now Lasell University, the Lasers finished second in the poll with three first-place votes and 150 points, followed closely by Johnson & Wales University (RI) with three first-place nods and 149 points. Emmanuel College slotted fourth with the remaining first-place tally and 135 points.
In last year's GNAC Tournament, Lasell needed overtime to defeat Emmanuel in the semifinals, while JWU fell to SJC, 4-2.
Rounding out the top-five was Regis College with 113 points, followed by Simmons University with 98 points, Colby-Sawyer College with 94 points, the University of Saint Joseph (Conn.) with 69 points, Norwich University with 65 points, and Suffolk University with 61 points. Making up the remainder of the poll were Albertus Magnus College, Rivier University, and Anna Maria College.
Lead by veteran head coach Vito LaFrancesca, Lasell will open up against Gordon and Endicott at the Gordon Classic on Aug. 30 and Sept. 1. The Lasers will travel to JWU in a GNAC matchup on Wednesday, Oct. 2., while JWU gets set to to open up the season in upstate New York at Clarkson and at St. Lawrence on Aug. 30-31.
The Lasers will have to overcome the loss of five key starters from last year's squad, including two-time All-New England selections Carly Zdanek and Sabrina Morais and All-GNAC performers Erika Badger and Morgan Pinksten. The squad returns 21 veterans from a year ago, including junior All-GNAC selection Korynne Provenzano (Stratham, N.H.) and senior Caitlin Rotonnelli (Meredith, N.H), an All-Conference pick in 2017.
The GNAC Tournament dates are slated for November 2, Nov. 5, and Nov. 9 at high seeds throughout. Be sure to catch all of the regular-season and tournament action live on thegnac.tv or watch on one of our four custom digital streaming apps. Broadcasts are produced by host institutions.
2019 GNAC Women's Soccer Preseason Poll
1. Saint Joseph's of Maine (6) - 159
2. Lasell (3) - 150
3. Johnson & Wales (3) - 149
4. Emmanuel (1) - 135
5. Regis - 113
6. Simmons - 98
7. Colby-Sawyer - 94
8. Saint Joseph (CT) - 69
9. Norwich - 65
10. Suffolk - 61
11. Albertus Magnus - 45
12. Rivier - 32
13. Anna Maria - 13
(Courtesy of the GNAC Office)
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