PORTLAND, ME – Simmons College (7-6, 6-4 GNAC) edged Saint Joseph's College (10-7, 8-2 GNAC), 11-10, in an evenly matched Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) women's lacrosse contest at Deering Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The result had no bearing on the Monks' GNAC Tournament standing, as Saint Joseph's headed into today's contest with a firm hold on the #2 seed in the playoffs, which begins with a quarterfinal round on Tuesday. The Monks will host #7 Johnson & Wales University at Deering in a 7:30 PM start while Simmons College, the #6 seed, travels to #3 Norwich University, a game for which the start time has yet to be determined.
Sophomore Kat Gadbois (Scarborough, Maine) opened the scoring just 25 seconds after the opening draw, but the slim lead was short-lived as the visiting Sharks responded with three straight scores over the following seven minutes to grab a 3-1 advantage.
The Monks answered in kind plus one, netting four tallies in a matter of five minutes to obtain a 5-3 lead. Senior Cassie Diplock (Augusta, Maine) scored two of the goals, including the final marker of the run, which saw the hosts take a two-goal lead with 12:20 left in the first half.
Simmons sophomore Alexia Malone Oliver (Bristol, R.I.) made it a 5-4 contest with a free-position score less than a minute later, but St. Joe's continued to score in bunches and received a pair of markers from senior Macy Pagurko (Augusta, Maine) over a 29-second span to claim a 7-4 lead. Sharks sophomore Greer Gilbert (Falmouth, Mass.) closed out the first half scoring, with 6:19 left in the opening frame, with her second of four goals on the afternoon to cut her team's deficit down to 7-5 heading into halftime.
Senior attack Krystal Walsh (Springvale, Maine) lifted the Royal Blue to an 8-5 margin with her 12th goal of the season, scored just 54 seconds into the second stanza, but the Sharks put forth an offensive surge that ultimately changed the outcome of the contest, potting four unanswered tallies over the following 14 minutes to earn a 9-8 lead. Junior attack Stephanie Oliveri (Waltham, Mass.) netted the final two goals of the Simmons run with 15:10 remaining.
Senior defender Rachelle Messuri (Atkinson, N.H.) managed to knot the game at nine apiece at the 7:34 mark when she scored her first free-position goal of the season. Malone Oliver and Diplock swapped scores over the subsequent two minutes to make it a 10-all game, but Gilbert managed to punch home what proved to be the winner with a free-position goal at the 5:13 mark.
Pagurko and sophomore midfielder Elizabeth Elcock (Westwood, Mass.) both had chances to force extra play, or possibly pull off a thrilling victory, with free-position attempts over the final four minutes of play, but Sharks netminder Crystal Derosier (Kingston, Mass.) turned away both shots to preserve the victory for the visitors.
For the Monks, Diplock tallied three goals and an assist with five ground balls and three caused turnovers, Pagurko added a hat trick effort and Gadbois potted a pair of markers in a losing effort. Messuri added four ground balls and four caused turnovers while senior goalies Haley Nason (Saco, Maine) and Elizabeth Giacchino (Melrose, Mass.) combined to make nine saves (3/6) on the afternoon.
With her third goal of the day and 61st of the year, Diplock tied the SJC single-season scoring record and now sits atop the category with former teammate Alyssa Marchant '11, who scored the same number during the 2010 campaign.
For the Sharks, Gilbert scored four goals with nine draw controls and three caused turnovers, Malone Oliver added three tallies, Oliveri netted a pair with an assist and Ashley Sheehan (North Attleboro, Mass.) potted two markers with four draw controls. Derosier was excellent in goal for Simmons with 15 saves while facing a total of 28 shots.
With the loss, Saint Joseph's falls to 2-5 in the history of the series with Simmons College and has now dropped five straight at the hands of the Sharks, a stretch that began during the 2011 season.
Prior to the beginning of the contest, Saint Joseph's held a ceremony to honor the program's eight seniors: Diplock, Messuri, Pagurko, Walsh, Nason, Giacchino, Anneka Adame (San Diego, Calif.) and Erica Russi (Debary, Fla.). The 2014 graduating class has played a major role in the Monks' success over the last four years, a span during which Saint Joseph's owns a 34-27 (.557) overall record and a 21-15 (.583) mark in conference play.
Saint Joseph's College is Maine's only Catholic liberal arts college, providing a supportive, personalized and career-focused education for more than 100 years. From its 430-acre campus on the shores of Sebago Lake, the College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs to a population of approximately 1,000 students. Saint Joseph's College Online provides certificates, undergraduate and advanced degrees for working adults through an online learning program. For more, visit www.sjcme.edu.