FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SJC and Lasell with three first-place votes,
Simmons and Colby-Sawyer with one apiece
WINTHROP, Mass. – After a loss in the tournament semifinals back in 2014, and a loss in the league title game in 2015, the Saint Joseph's College of Maine field hockey program broke through for its first-ever Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship in 2016. The Monks went on to defeat Montclair State that season in the first round of the NCAA Division III Tournament, traveling nearly 700 miles roundtrip in the process.
A year ago, it was Lasell College that earned the 2017 GNAC regular-season title, going 7-0 against league foes before hosting SJC in the league title game. But the Monks scored three times in the second half for a 3-0 victory and its second straight NCAA Tournament appearance, where they fell to No. 19 UNE, 2-1, last November.
Following a vote by the league's eight head coaches, Saint Joseph's has led the way in the annual GNAC Preseason Poll with three first-place votes and 59 points overall, while Lasell too had three first-place tallies and 56 points in the rankings. The two programs are set to meet in the GNAC regular-season finale on Wednesday, October 24 in Maine, in a game that could potentially determine seeding in the GNAC Tournament.
The 2018 GNAC Tournament dates are scheduled for Saturday, October 27 (first round), Wednesday, October 31 (semifinals) and Saturday, November 3 (championship) at high seeds throughout.
Simmons College, which won the inaugural GNAC Field Hockey Championship back in 2014 and again claimed the crown in 2015, finished third in the voting with 48 points and one first-place vote. The Sharks will be at home versus Lasell on Saturday, Sept. 15 and on the road at Saint Joseph's on Sept. 22 after falling to SJC, 5-0, in last year's GNAC Semifinals.
Next Friday, August 31, Saint Joseph's will begin the 2018 season at home against Skidmore, which defeated the Monks in the 2016 NCAA Tournament Second Round after their Montclair State win.
Lasell will open up on the road at Nichols (Aug. 31) and at Becker (Sept. 1), while Simmons starts the fall with four at home against Clark (Aug. 31), MIT (Sept. 1), WPI (Sept. 4) and Westfield State (Sept. 6).
Entering its first season in the GNAC, Colby-Sawyer College finished fifth in the voting with one first-place vote and 41 points following a 9-8 overall record last season. The Chargers advanced to the North Atlantic Conference (NAC) Tournament semifinals last fall, falling 3-1 to Husson, but in 2017 they did manage to defeat three GNAC schools – Regis (Mass.), Anna Maria College and Rivier University – in non-conference action. Colby-Sawyer also matched up with Simmons at home last October, falling 2-0.
Ranking fifth in the preseason poll was Johnson & Wales University with 35 points, followed by Regis with 23 points, Anna Maria with 18 points and Rivier with 10 points.
Be sure to watch host institutions live-streaming their games free of charge on one of the GNAC's four custom digital streaming apps or watch live on your computer or tablet at thegnac.tv. Fans can also purchase GNAC co-branded and championship apparel through the conference's new partnership with SquadLocker by clicking HERE.
2018 GNAC Field Hockey Preseason Poll
1. Saint Joseph's (Maine) (3) - 59
2. Lasell (3) - 56
3. Simmons (1) - 48
4. Colby-Sawyer (1) - 41
5. Johnson & Wales - 35
6. Regis (Mass.) - 23
7. Anna Maria - 18
8. Rivier - 10
The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Founded in 1995, the GNAC annually sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience.
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