|Simmons College||Saint Joseph's College|
PORTLAND, Maine – Freshman forward Libby Pomerleau scored in the 14th minute to lift Saint Joseph’s College (13-6, 5-1 GNAC) past Simmons College (11-8, 5-1 GNAC), 1-0, in the 2016 Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Field Hockey Championship at Deering Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
With the victory, Saint Joseph’s claims the first conference crown and subsequent NCAA DIII National Tournament berth in the 22-year history of the program. Since 2008, the Monks have appeared in a conference title bout on six occasions – including a 1-0 setback at the hands of the Sharks in Boston last fall – with four losses being decided by one goal and two either coming in overtime or penalty strokes.
The complete NCAA Tournament bracket will be announced on Monday.
With the loss, the 2016 season comes to a close for Simmons College.
The contest seemed destined for overtime before Pomerleau scored her team-leading 15th goal of the year at the 63:52 mark. Sophomore Kara Kelly found Pomerleau with a left-to-right pass across the goalmouth and the freshman standout slammed the shot past Simmons netminder Brianna Rastello.
The Sharks had several prime scoring opportunities as well, as SJC sophomore keeper Megan Baker denied junior forward Sammy Rondeau on a hard shot off a penalty corner in the 56th minute and St. Joe’s sophomore defender Arianna Kahler forced a turnover after Simmons was awarded a corner attempt as time expired.
Simmons held a sizeable 10-3 shots advantage with a 4-3 lead in shots on goal and an 8-7 edge in penalty corners on the afternoon.
Baker picked up her seventh shutout of the year after making four saves while Rastello made a pair of stops in the losing effort. Senior midfielder Robin Powell also tallied a defensive save in the title contest.