The end of the regular season draws closer for the fall sports teams of Lasell. With playoffs beginning for most teams on Saturday, Nov. 5, the Chronicle breaks down each team’s season to get you ready for the playoff madness. (NOTE: The Men’s Soccer team will receive a full season wrap-up in the upcoming Nov/Dec issue, make sure to check it out.)
Men’s and Women’s Cross Country
By Adam Hallenbeck – Sports Editor
After running all over the Northeast area this season, the men’s and women’s cross country teams look to have a strong finish in the Greater Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) championship race. “This year has been a lot better than the past few years…we have been smart with how we have been training compared to the last two years,” said senior captain Matt Holden.
Both teams look to make a run toward the GNAC title in hopes of capturing the first championship in their program’s history. The teams have competed in races weekly for the entirety of the semester.
In a GNAC pre-championship race coaches’ poll, Suffolk University finished first overall in the women’s standings, while Colby-Sawyer lead the men’s standings, looking to repeat as team champion.
Although Suffolk and Colby-Sawyer are seen as the league-wide main competition, the Lasell runners look towards their biggest rival, Regis College.
“Right now, our biggest competition is Regis because they match up very similarly to our runners in each race with places and times,” said Holden.
Both teams have held their own in these races, but Geralson Withrow has been able to set himself apart from the rest of the pack. Withrow placed seventh (17:35) at the Wellesley Invitational and eighth (28:34) at their race at Westfield State.
The Lasers will be wrapping up their seasons with the championship race on Nov. 2, and the NCAA Division III Regional Championship race on Nov. 16.
By Taylor Viles – 1851 Staff
The season is almost over for the women’s volleyball team and they are looking for a strong push in the GNAC playoffs. Coach Dana Jones, in his second season, is looking for solid play to build the team’s confidence going into their last few matches.
“We’re just trying to find a groove. Hopefully, we’ll be able to build off this win and keep the momentum going,” said Jones. He was referring to a 3-2 come-from-behind victory against Saint Joseph on Oct. 16.
The team will finish the season eighth in the GNAC with a conference record of 5-7. Eighth place is the final playoff spot awarded in the GNAC, but the Lasers were able to hang on despite a late season push from the neighboring town rival Regis Pride.
The team has struggled to put a winning streak together all season, which shows in their overall record of 9-20, but it’s the conference matches that matter. The team was able to win enough matches to secure themselves the spot and they’re hoping to show their grit going into the first playoff match.
One player who has excelled in her role on the court this season is sophomore Kiana Perez Diaz, who has eclipsed 350 kills in just her sophomore season. Diaz, who has suited up in every match besides one, said this team makes playing at a high level easy for her.
“Their energy is amazing,” she said. “I’m used to playing on a team where if you make an error it’s the end of the world… Over here it’s ‘okay, just go back in and do it.’ Having that support is really helpful.”
The GNAC Tournament playoffs begin on Nov. 5 at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island. Lasell will be playing the number 1 ranked Johnson & Wales who are 9-0 in conference play and 20-4 overall. If Lasell wins the first round matchup, the semifinals will be on Nov. 7.
By Kaie Quigley – 1851 Staff
In their inaugural year representing Lasell University, the lasers are fifth seeded as they begin playoffs, sporting a 8-4 conference record in the 2019-2020 season.
However, they are still in hot pursuit of their ninth GNAC title. The Lasers are fresh off their biggest win of the season, taking revenge versus second seeded Saint Joseph’s of Maine, the team that defeated Lasell in the 2018 final to become champions.
At this point in the season, the Lasers leading scorer is sophomore Serena Speight with six goals. Speight also shares the assist lead with former GNAC Rookie of the Week Bobbi O’Quinn, with four. Junior Korynne Provenzano holds down the back for Lasell, as she continues to impress after being selected to Third Team All-GNAC as a sophomore last season.
Senior Olivia Austin shared her opinion on this season’s struggles, as the Lasers are used to being at the top of the standings. Austin says, “trying to live up to the achievements previous teams have accomplished,” has been that the hardest part of this season.
However, the midfielder made it clear that her and her teammates haven’t let off the gas compared to previous teams. So why did Lasell fall in the standings this year? According to Austin, the GNAC has stepped up their game. “We aren’t underperforming at all. Teams have trained harder and recruited harder just to try to take down Lasell because we have controlled the conference for almost a decade,” said Austin.
Despite what any record or seed may say, the Lasers are fully invested in raising the GNAC cup come November. “We push harder every day because we want the cup for each other. We pride ourselves on being a family and as a whole, we win and lose together. We motivate each other each day we have practice leading up to a game, and game days we know it’s do or die,” said Austin.
The quest for the cup continues for Lasell women’s soccer Saturday at 12 p.m. at Suffolk University. The Lasers previously fell 1-0 to the Rams in a conference matchup.
Women’s Field Hockey
By Meghan Carroll – 1851 Staff
As GNAC playoffs creep closer and closer, women’s field hockey continues to prepare for another shot at the GNAC championship. They are 9-9 overall and 5-3 in conference, which currently places them second in the GNAC, giving them great positioning as they approach playoffs. Key players suffered injuries throughout the season but they finally have everyone back and healthy.
Izzy Contois, a senior midfielder, has full confidence in what they can accomplish as they advance to playoffs. “We have been working on having good chemistry and team culture. That’s been really important to us. We had a few starters get injured at different times throughout the season and the past few games we have finally had everyone back. So having everyone back, the biggest thing we’re doing to prepare is making sure we have everyone in the best position for them and people on the field that are helping create the best outcome,” said Contois.
One of their toughest opponents is Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, in which they have faced in the championship two years in a row just coming up short. Saturday, Oct. 19, Lasell faced their rival, just coming up short. They are looking for their revenge as they approach playoffs.
Sam Taylor, a senior captain for the team, is determined to get ahold of that GNAC championship. “We are working hard on connecting the passes all over the field along with putting the ball in the back of the net,” said Taylor. The team is prepared to give everything they have in the last weeks of the regular season to give them the best position in the playoffs. Playoff games begin this Saturday, Nov. 2. Lasell will match up with either Johnson and Wales (#6) or Simmons (#3) on Nov. 6.