St. Joe's secures a trio of conference championships

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STANDISH and NEWTON, MASSACHUSETTS—St. Joseph’s picked up a trio of titles this past weekend: The Monks earned championship wins in the Greater Northeast Athletic Conference field hockey, women’s soccer and men’s soccer finals.

The field hockey squad, who entered the GNAC tournament ranked No. 1 at 19-1, upended challenger Lasell (14-7) by a score of 4-0. St. Joe’s, as the top seed, hosted the contest.

The Monks dashed to an early lead, Emma Rutledge (Alfred) scoring just over three minutes in on an assist by Arianna Kahler (Lisbon Falls). The teams then lapsed into a stalemate: St. Joe’s generated a number of opportunities, but didn’t notch their next point until the 56th minute. That’s when Alex Belaire (Greene) put them up 2-0. Libby Pomerleau (Limerick) capped the Monks’ effort with a pair of goals in, roughly, a pair of minutes.

Pomerleau set a new school record with her second strike; she’s sored 58 times in 62 games – and she’s only a junior.

Goalie Megan Baker (Gorham) hashed four saves in the shutout, her 30th across 57 victories. St. Joe’s outshot Lasell 23-5, and out-cornered them 19-2.

It’s the third straight GNAC crown for the Monks, who now move on to the NCAA Division III tournament.

Meanwhile, the women’s soccer team – who entered the GNAC bracketing as the two-seed – upset the top seed, Lasell again, to claim their title. The 1-0 result played out at Lasell in Newton, Massachusetts.

Haley DaGraca (Saco) punched home the gamewinner in the 60th minute: Colleen Sheehan (Medway, Massachusetts) fed a cross pass from the right side for DaGraca, who headed the ball past Lasell netminder Angela Zanzari (North Haven, Connecticut).

Lasell showed their firepower in the matchup, peppering St. Joe’s keeper Adia Grogan (Kennebunk) – just a freshman – with 10 shots. Grogan, of course, turned every one of them away.

Lasell led in shots, 17-8, as well in corner kicks, 7-2.

DaGraca earned All-Tournament MVP, while teammate Emily Thornton (Westbrook) also picked up All-Tournament honors.

As the field hockey team does, the women’s soccer team moves on to the NCAA DIII tournament.

Finally, the men’s soccer team, the GNAC one-seed at 20-0, bested Johnson & Wales (No. 2 at 12-6-3) 1-0. That bout also took place at St. Joe’s.

The action remained deadlocked at 0-0 for nearly 47 minutes, until Cody Elliot (Gorham) dug up the sole strike of the day. Noah Robinson (Wappingers Falls, New York) assisted Elliot on the play, shoveling a pass to him after J & W netminder Nick Mancini jumped forward, attempting to interrupt the Monks’ attack. Elliot capitalized on the open net.

St. Joe’s outshot J & W 12-4; Monks keeper Blake Mullen (Manchester, Connecticut) faced – get this – zero shots (that’s shots-on-goal, specifically).

Elliot – alongside several teammates, including Jackson Taylor (also a native Gorhamite) – earned All-Tournament honors. In fact, Elliot earned the MVP award.

The Monks move on to the NCAA DIII tournament.

Adam Birt can be reached at abirt@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @CurrentSportsME.

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