St. Joseph's Maine Captures 2009 GNAC Men's Soccer Crown
STANDISH, ME - #1 Saint Joseph's College (14-7-1, 7-2 GNAC)
defeated #6 Emerson College (12-8, 5-4 GNAC), 2-1, in the 2009 GNAC
Men's Soccer Championship at Westerlea Way Field on Saturday
afternoon. Jack LaFreniere '13 (Alton, NH) notched both SJC goals,
less than five minutes apart in the second half, to help the Monks
capture their first GNAC title. With the win, St. Joe's collects an
automatic berth, awarded to the GNAC winner, into the NCAA DIII
Tournament, which begins this week. The trip to the NCAA's will be
the first in men's soccer program history. NCAA tourney seedings
will be announced on Monday morning.
GNAC Tournament Most Valuable Player Will Pike '10 (Gorham, ME) made three stops in net for the Monks, while his counterpart, Emerson keeper Noah Price '12 (Apex, NC), registered seven saves in a losing effort.
St. Joe's dominated play for the majority of the match, but the game stood at a scoreless deadlock after 70 minutes of play despite the fact that the Monks had a handful of excellent opportunities.
LaFreniere put the Monks on the board at the 71:39 mark with a tremendous individual effort. Andre Cushing '10 (Hampden, ME) fed the ball to the rookie forward, who headed the ball to himself in traffic and beat Price with a ball into the top of the net.
LaFreniere struck again less than five minutes later with his second tally of the game and fourth of the GNAC Tournament. This time the flashy freshman managed to get past the defense and gain control of a bounding ball as Price left the net to challenge. As the ball was about to reach Price, LaFreniere step-kicked the ball, which created an irregular bounce that fooled the Emerson keeper, and wound up following the bouncing sphere into the net with his arms spread wide knowing that he had put his team up by two goals.
The two-score cushion seemed impossible for the visitors to surmount, but a goal from Zach Sayward '10 (Franklin, MA), which was scored off a free kick, in the 82nd minute provided unwanted drama for the Royal Blue faithful. Sayward unleashed a low, sinking kick directly at Pike, who appeared to make the easy save, but the ball trickled in behind him, cutting the SJC lead in half.
The Lions were unable to mount a serious threat after the Sayward tally, as Pike easily stopped both shots on goal in the final six minutes of play.
The game began with both sides getting a feel for the other, as is typical, but after about 15 minutes the action began and the Monks began pouring on the pressure. In the 24th minute, Doug MacCallum '10 (Hingham, MA) belted a curving kick just over the crossbar and, eight minutes later, LaFreniere battled his way through the Lions defense but his kick was denied with a nice stop by Price. An offsides call with 20 second remaining in the opening half revoked an apparent SJC goal. Overall, Saint Joseph's outshot Emerson, 5-1 in the first half.
The second stanza began in a similar manner to the way the first ended, as the Royal Blue controlled play and recorded numerous chances, with the common theme being "wide left," to grab the lead. Seven minutes in, Robins booted a laser that sailed just wide to the left. MacCallum missed left two minutes later to the left and an attempt by Michael Sanfilippo '11 (Walpole, MA), off a great corner from Robins and quick pass from MacCallum, in the 58th minute missed left.
Price denied MacCallum, who sent a header toward the net off a long Sanfilippo pass, with a great diving save to his right in the 60th minute. MacCallum appeared to score a minute later after collecting a rebound off a Robins header and Price save, but an offsides call kept the match scoreless. The wait for the game's first goal ended 12 minutes later when LaFreniere's effort resulted in a Saint Joseph's goal.
St. Joe's outshot Emerson 10-6 in the second half and held a 15-7 lead in shots overall. The Monks held a slim 3-2 edge in corner kicks in the triumph.
When the final buzzer rang, the crowd of over 500 fans rushed the field to celebrate with their 2009 GNAC Men's Soccer Champions.
MEN'S SOCCER ALL TOURNAMENT TEAM:
Jack LaFreniere - Saint Joseph's
Doug MacCallum - Saint Joseph's
Greg Cavanaugh - Saint Joseph's
Paul Robins - Saint Joseph's
Zach Sayward - Emerson
Cory Walls - Emerson
Kin Nikravesh - Emerson
Zach Blodgett - Norwich
Jake Leclaire - Norwich
Julian Dutton - Lasell
Paul Meucci - Lasell
Will Pike (Saint Joseph's)
Emerson College (12-8) vs. St. Joseph's (Me.) (14-7-1)
Date: Nov 07, 2009 Attendance: 511
Weather: Sunny about 50 degrees
Goals by period 1 2 Tot
Emerson College..... 0 1 - 1
St. Joseph's (Me.).. 0 2 - 2
1. 71:39 SJMMS Jack Lafreniere (6) (Andre Cushing) - 21 headed the ball to himself, shot over the goalie
2. 75:27 SJMMS Jack Lafreniere (7) (unassisted) - Goalie came out to get ball, 21 deflects it in goal
3. 81:37 EME Zach Sayward (unassisted)
Shots: Emerson College 7, St. Joseph's (Me.) 15
Saves: Emerson College 7 (Noah Price 7), St. Joseph's (Me.) 3 (Will
Courtesy: St. Joseph's (Maine) Athletic Communications