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Women's Soccer Looks to Dethrone SJM in GNAC Semifinals

Women's Soccer Looks to Dethrone SJM in GNAC Semifinals

BOSTON, Mass. – Third-seeded Emmanuel College (10-8-1, 8-3-1 GNAC) will travel to No. 2 Saint Joseph's College (ME) (13-3-2, 9-2-1 GNAC) in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Soccer Tournament Semifinal game at the SJC Athletic Complex on Tuesday at 6:15 PM.

OVERVIEW:

Tuesday's winner advances to the championship round of the GNAC tourney and will face the victor of the No. 1 Johnson & Wales University / No. 5 Lasell University semifinal on Saturday, November 9th.

The winner of the GNAC Championship game, which will be played on Saturday, November 9th, earns an automatic berth into the 2019 NCAA DIII Women's Soccer Championship, which begins on Friday, Nov. 15th.

SEASON AT A GLANCE:

Emmanuel:

  • The Saints entered the GNAC Tournament ranked fourth in the conference in goals against average (1.36) while boasting four shutouts
  • Emmanuel averages 2.05 goals per game and just under 13.4 shot attempts per match
  • The Saints enter the Semifinal on a five-match unbeaten streak (4-0-1) and are coming off a dominating 5-2 victory over #6 Albertus Magnus College
  • Emmanuel is 4-2-0 on the road this season in GNAC play.

Saint Joseph's:

  • The Monks were picked to finish 1st in the GNAC Preseason Coaches' poll with 159 points and six first place votes after winning the 2018 GNAC Championship
  • Saint Joseph's is 0-1-1 in its last two matches, falling to Lasell in the regular-season finale by a 2-1 score before playing USJ to a 2-2 tie in the GNAC Quarterfinals, advancing in six rounds of penalty kicks, 3-2
  • The Monks lead the GNAC with a 0.81 goals against average overall and a 0.74 goals against average in GNAC play
  • The squad enters the postseason averaging 2.20 goals per game to rank fourth overall in the GNAC

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Emmanuel:

  • Senior forward Natalie Dash (East Hampton, Conn.) - The Saints went 5-0-0 in GNAC play this season in games that Dash recorded a point in. She enters the tourney ranked tied for eighth in the GNAC in goals scored (9) and 10th in the GNAC in points (21).
  • Freshman forward Megan McMillen (Branford, Conn.) - McMillen missed most of her rookie campaign due to a back injury but returned last week and has scored four goals over three games including a hat-trick in the GNAC Quarterfinals.
  • Senior defender Kaylin Deschenes (Lynn, Mass.) – The 2018 GNAC Defensive Player of the Year helped EC post four shutouts this season while also collecting 11 points on four goals and three assists.

Saint Joseph's:

  • Junior midfielder McKenzie Murphy (West Baldwin, Maine) - Is tied for fifth in the GNAC in points with 26, ranking sixth in goals (11) and tied for 10th in assists (6).
  • Sophomore midfielder Ashley Emery (Madison, Maine) – Ranked second on the Monks in points with 20 and helped the Monks post an 11-0-0 record in games that she registered at least one point in.
  • Senior midfielder Jade Jordan (Baldwin, Maine) – A holding central midfielder that controls the middle third of the pitch for the Monks and solidified the SJM transition defense.

KEEPER COMPARISON:

Saint Joseph's:

Sophomore Adia Grogan (Kennebunk, Maine) has put together a stellar campaign in net, leading the GNAC in with a 0.88 goals against average and an .870 save percentage. She also led the league in minutes played in net with over 1,743 minutes logged and ranks second in wins with 12.

Emmanuel:

First year Alyssa Crugnale (Middleton, Mass.) earned the starting nod for the GNAC postseason after stepping up in her time in net this season. She entered the GNAC postseason ranked second in the conference with a 0.92 goals against average and third in the GNAC with an .838 save percentage.

COACHES' CORNER:

Emmanuel Head Coach Greg Visinho is in his second year at the helm for the Saints and owns a 24-14-1 career record, including a 17-6-1 (.729) mark in GNAC play. In his first season as the Saints' clipboard carrier, he led the Saints to a conference low 0.82 goals against average, setting the program record with 10 shutouts and landed a program-record five players to the GNAC All-Conference First team a year ago.

Saint Joseph's Head Coach Janelle Harris is in her seventh season with the program and has compiled an 84-43-10 career record. She's been named the GNAC Coach of the Year on three separate occasions (2013, 2016, 2018) and helped the Monks to last year's GNAC Championship. 

THE LAST TIME WE MET:

Emmanuel edged SJM, 2-1, at home this season on September 25th. The Saints were without leading scorer Natalie Dash for most of the game after she suffered an ankle injury in a collision with Grogan but EC got second half goals from first year forward Jill Kutash (Mattapoisett, Mass.) and sophomore back Kennedy Davignon (Woodstock, Conn.) to pick up the win.

The Saints outshot the Monks, 11-5 in the win.

HISTORICALLY SPEAKING:

Emmanuel is 11-5-0 all-time versus Saint Joseph's College which includes a 1-0-0 record in GNAC tournament play when EC bested the Monks by a 2-0 score on Nov. 2, 2014 in the GNAC Quarterfinals.

POSTSEASON HISTORY:

The Saints are 19-17-2 all-time in the GNAC tournament, most recently making a run to the championship game in both the 2014 and 2015 playoffs. Last year, Emmanuel lost to Lasell in the semifinals of the GNAC Tournament, 1-0, falling to the No. 1 seed in overtime.

The Monks have advanced to the GNAC postseason in 12 of 13 seasons and have played in the semifinal round on five occasions, including last fall when they bested Johnson & Wales University, 4-2, to move on to the GNAC Championship where they'd dethrone Lasell from a reign of eight consecutive GNAC titles.

COVERAGE:

To watch the game live, visit https://www.gomonks.com/sports/wsoc/2019-20/boxscores/20191105_8xpk.xml?video