PORTLAND, ME - #2 Saint Joseph's College (12-7, 8-2 GNAC) rallied from a 5-2 deficit with five unanswered goals in the final 15 minutes of play to defeat #3 Norwich University (8-5, 7-3 GNAC), 7-5, in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Lacrosse Tournament semifinal contest at Deering Memorial Stadium on Thursday night.
With the win, the Saint Joseph's women's lacrosse team advances to the GNAC Championship for the first time in the seven-year history of the program. The Monks will play at top-seeded Emmanuel College in the title match at 1:00 PM on Saturday. The Saints defeated #5 Rivier University, 9-5, in the other GNAC semifinal matchup this evening.
The Cadets controlled play out of the gates and held a 2-0 advantage after seven minutes of play. Sophomore attack Larissa Gokey (St. Johnsbury, Vt.) nearly put the visitors on the board when she had an open look at the 26:15 mark, but her shot clanged off the crossbar. Norwich would capitalize just 19 seconds later when senior Baylie Lamarre (Tyngsboro, Mass.) steered a shot past SJC senior goalie Elizabeth Giacchino (Melrose, Mass.) to put her team on top, 1-0.
Lamarre doubled the visitors' lead 2:56 later with an unassisted tally, but the two-goal cushion lasted just 20 seconds, as junior Lizzie Calnan (Westport, Mass.) put the Monks on the board with a goal off a Kat Gadbois (Scarborough, Maine) feed. Senior Cassie Diplock (Augusta, Maine) netted her first of three goals on the night at the 18:52 mark to knot the game at 2-2, a score that remained as the teams headed into halftime.
Norwich seemed to claim major momentum early in the second stanza when senior Grace Fitzpatrick (Falmouth, Maine/Cheverus) scored twice in the first 42 seconds of the latter period. Lamarre added her third marker of the night to provide her team with a 5-2 advantage with 21:40 left.
Six scoreless minutes ensued, but the Monks - who had not scored in nearly 34 minutes of play – showed signs of life and ended the drought with a Diplock marker at the 15:14 mark. As it played out, Diplocks' goal opened the floodgates for the Monks, who closed out the game with five-consecutive markers, starting with a Gadbois tally, off a Jackie Wilson (Tiverton, R.I.) dish, two minutes later to make it a one-goal (5-4) game with 12:13 remaining. The Monks then took advantage of a man-up situation to tie the game, as Diplock potted her 68th of the year with 8:25 on the clock to knot the contest at five-apiece.
Calnan, who picked a great night to have a career game, put her team on top for the first time all evening, scoring a beautiful goal to make it a 6-5 contest with 5:41 left. Evading defenders behind the cage, the junior midfielder worked her way around front and capped a tremendous effort with a wrap-around, backhand shot past Norwich senior keeper Irene Okubo (Chicago, Ill.) into the bottom left corner in the net.
Calnan proceeded to provide the Monks with an insurance goal, as the second-year player netted a man-down marker off a Gadbois pass to make it a 7-5 game with 2:31 on the game clock.
For the Monks, Calnan scored three goals with seven ground balls, Diplock added a hat trick with four ground balls and a pair of caused turnovers, Gadbois tallied a goal with a pair of assists, five ground balls and three caused turnovers and senior Rachelle Messuri (Atkinson, N.H.) added five ground balls and five caused turnovers in the Monks' defensive end.
Lamarre and Fitzpatrick accounted for all of the Cadets' offense in the loss, netting three and two goals, respectively, in the losing effort. Fitzpatrick added a game-high eight ground balls with six draw controls and four caused turnovers in the season-ending setback.
Giacchino made eight saves to improve to 5-3 on the season while Okubo registered 11 stops for the visitors.
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.