The fall sports season came to a close in November for all teams. Five of the six fall teams competed in the playoffs this season, with men’s soccer being the only team to miss out on the postseason. The wrap of the season and completion of the playoffs brought the announcement of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) end-of-season awards and honors. In total, nine Lasers were honored by the GNAC in their respective sports.
By Kaie Quigley – Co-Editor-in-Chief/Digital Sports Editor
All photos courtesy of Joe Giacco
On Wednesday afternoon at Taylor Field, the No. 2 seeded women’s soccer team defeated No. 3 St. Joseph’s College of Maine 2-0 in the semi-finals of the Great Northeastern Athletic Conference (GNAC) tournament. The Lasers will now move on to their tenth title game in school history, and look to take home their ninth GNAC cup— all of which have been under head coach Vito La Francesca.
One year removed from a loss at Grellier Field to Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, the women’s field hockey team is pushing towards another Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) postseason run.
While losing the reigning GNAC Goalkeeper of the Year Denise Landry and first team All-Conference defender Taylor Falco to graduation, the Lasers returned an offensive core with seniors Cailin Flannery, Julia Franzik, and junior Sam Taylor.
The team carries a 12-5 record for the season, including a solid 5-0 in conference action. Behind the dynamic duo of Flannery and Taylor, the Lasers have proven to once again position themselves as a league contender.
Previous GNAC Coach of the Year, Caitlin Connolly looks at this season differently than last year’s. “You’re going to graduate seniors every year and you’re hoping that over the course as you recruit players that athletes are growing and getting better,” said Connolly. “When we approach this year it’s who we are as a team and where do the pieces of the puzzle need to fit, and what’s our identity.”
Blazing the trail for team identity is Flannery, who has continuously set records for the Lasers, including breaking her own personal and previous school record of 45 points in a season during Lasell’s 6-0 victory over Framingham State University on October 17. Flannery now stand as the programs all-time points leader with 172 career points, 64 goals and 44 assists.
Not only has Flannery’s success been felt on campus, but she also sits high in multiple NCAA Division III statistics categories this year. Averaging 1.12 goals per game, she is ranked 24th in the nation, and 18th in Division III for points per game with a 2.71 average. In the GNAC, Flannery has reached a conference high in both points and goals.
Three-time GNAC Player of the Week Taylor is second in all of Division III for assists per game with 1.02. She has 14 goals, 15 assists for 43 points this season, not far behind Flannery.
Nationally in Division III, Lasell is in the Top 15 for three statistical categories. Lasell has averaged a 12th-best 4.12 goals per game, 13th-best 10.53 points per game and outscored their opponents a 12th-best average of 4.04 goals per game. The latter is good for second place in the GNAC, behind Saint Joseph’s College of Maine, who sits at fourth in Division III.
Taylor mentioned the team has been having a good season so far.
w“We just need to keep playing the way we are and continue connecting on the field as a team and never let the other team have that momentum swing.”
Taylor added, “We have all the skills as a unit to make it that far again, so with that comes desire and dedication. Not saying it will be easy, but we sure do stand a chance.”
On the other end of the field, the Lasers have seen quality goalkeeping from freshman Sofia Rodriguez. Rodriguez has been honored three times with GNAC weekly honors, with one Goalkeeper of the Week nod, and two Rookie of the Week awards. The freshman goalkeeper has played in nine games and boasts an impressive .722 save percentage behind 65 career saves this season.
“[The goalies] have been working really hard and our defense is really strong in front of our goalkeepers. I think the hiring of a goal-tending coach has made a huge difference for them” said coach Connolly.
Lasell will wrap up the regular season on Wednesday, October 24 when they travel to Saint Joe’s of Maine for a battle to claim the GNAC regular season title, and home field advantage in the GNAC Tournament.
Women’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and field hockey all had record-setting seasons. Women’s volleyball earned the fourth seed in the GNAC tournament and made it to the semifinals. Field hockey earned the number one seed and competed in the GNAC Championship for the first time in team history. Women’s soccer captured their eighth straight GNAC Championship, defeating Johnson and Wales 2-0 at home on November 4.