BOSTON, Mass. – Fourth-seeded Emmanuel College (14-5, 9-3 GNAC) will travel to top-seeded Lasell College (13-5, 11-1 GNAC) in a Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Soccer Tournament Semifinal game at Taylor Field in Newton, Mass. on Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 PM.
Friday's winner advances to the GNAC Championship round of the tournament and will face the victor of the No. 2 Saint Joseph's College (ME) versus No. 3 Johnson & Wales University semifinal on Wednesday, October 31st.
The winner of the GNAC Championship game, which will be played on Saturday, November 3rd, earns an automatic berth into the 2018 NCAA DIII Women's Soccer Championship, which begins on Saturday, Nov. 10th.
SEASON AT A GLANCE:
- The Saints enter the GNAC Tournament ranked first in the conference in goals against average (0.78) while boasting a program-record 10 shutouts
- Emmanuel averages 2.84 goals per game and just under 18 shot attempts per match
- The Saints enter the semifinals on a five-match winning streak, most recently posted a 1-0 victory over No. 5 Regis College in the GNAC quarterfinals on Friday.
- Emmanuel posted a 6-1 record on the year when in the afternoon as Wednesday's kick off is set for 2:30 PM.
- The Lasers finished the regular-season with an 11-1 record in GNAC play but had their 20-game GNAC winning streak snapped by Emmanuel in the regular-season finale last week.
- After starting the year 0-3 against tough competition, Lasell reeled off seven straight wins to find their mid-season groove.
- The eight-time defending GNAC Champs lead the GNAC averaging 3.11 goals per game and averaged an incredible 4.25 goals per game in GNAC play.
- Lasell only surrendered eight goals during regular-season GNAC play for a 0.67 goals against average against the conference.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
- Senior midfielder Mikayla Guthrie (North Andover, Mass.) - The Saints a 7-0-0 in games that Guthrie scored a goal in this season as she currently tanks in the top 10 in the GNAC in goals, assists and points
- Senior midfielder Kayla Generis (Wethersfield, Conn.) - The 2017 all-conference player came back with a stronger senior campaign with career-highs in goals, assists and points
- Junior forward Natalie Dash (East Hampton, Conn.) - Scored in eight straight games earlier this season and ranks just outside the top 10 in GNAC scoring
- Senior forward Carly Zdanek (Newton, N.J.) – the 2017 GNAC Offensive Player of the Year led the team with 10 goals and five assists for 25 total points
- Senior midfielder Erika Badger (Scituate, Mass.) – the major playmaker in the Laser midfield, Badger has accumulated 21 points on nine goals and three assists and is 3-for-3 on the year in penalty kicks
- Senior midfielder/back Sabrina Morais (Arlington, Mass.) – has helped anchor the Laser's defensive unit as a holding midfielder while also getting involved in the offensive attach with 13 points on four goals and five helpers.
Junior Lexi Gawron (South Hadley, Mass.) leads the GNAC in Goals Against Average and Save Percentage. She allowed the fewest goals among GNAC keepers on the year and holds the highest Start to Win ratio. Gawron ranks second in shutouts and has appeared in 10 shutouts overall to share the conference lead. She closed the regular-season with 315 minutes of scoreless action in net and enters the semifinal with 405 minutes of scoreless play in net.
Freshman Angela Sanzari (North Haven, Conn.) has played in over 80% of the action this year for Lasell in goal, registering a 1.38 goals against average and a .792 save percentage. She boasts a 10-5 overall record in net and has not allowed more than two goals in her last 12 appearances for Lasell.
Emmanuel Head Coach Greg Visinho is in his first year at the helm for the Saints and owns a 14-5 career record, including an 9-3 (.750) mark in GNAC play. In his first season as the Saints' clipboard carrier, he led the Saints to a conference low 0.78 goals against average, setting a new program record with 10 shutouts. Visinho's first assistant, Dan Campagna, served as the team's Head Coach last season and was named the 2017 GNAC Coach of the Year.
Lasell Head Coach Vito LaFrancesca is in his 12th season with the program. He's led the Lasers to eight consecutive GNAC Championship victories and was named the GNAC Coach of the Year in 2007. LaFrancesca owns a 166-61-15 (.717) record with the Lasers and has posted a 113-18-10 (.837) mark in the GNAC over the last 12 seasons
THE LAST TIME WE MET:
Emmanuel edges Lasell, 2-1, last week on Wednesday, October 24 at Roberto Clemente Field. The Saints jumped out to an early 2-0 lead behind goals from Guthrie and Generis in the first 22 minutes of play.
Lasell cut the lead in half in the 78th minute on a goal by Kaylee Contreras (Pawtucket, R.I.) to make it 2-1 but the EC defensive unit stood strong to preserve the lead and hold on for the 2-1 win, the first Emmanuel win over Lasell since 2008.
Lasell has controlled the all-time series, owning a 12-4-2 record against the Saints. From 2010 through 2017, the Lasers dominated Emmanuel with an 11-0-1 record.
The Saints are 18-16-2 all-time in the GNAC tournament, most recently making a run to the championship game in both the 2014 and 2015 playoffs. In 2015, the Saints faced off against the Lasers in the title game, battling to a 1-1 final through two overtimes before Lasell captured the crown with a 5-3 win in penalties.
Lasell owns a 23-3-2 record in GNAC tournament play including a 22-0-2 mark during their eight-year title reign.
The two squads have faced off five times in the GNAC postseason with Lasell owning a 3-1-1 record in those meetings. Emmanuel topped the Lasers 3-1 in the GNAC Quarterfinals in 2008. In the semifinals round, Lasell downed EC 4-1 in the 2012 and 5-2 in 2013. In the GNAC Championship, the Lasers cruised to a 6-1 win in 2014 and then the squads played to a 1-1 tie in 2015 before the Lasers won in penalty kicks.
To watch the game live, visit https://portal.stretchinternet.com/ecsaints/ and click on the watch button.