Skip to navigation Skip to content Skip to footer

GNAC Places 10 Student-Athletes on US Soccer Coaches Association All-Region Teams



WINTHROP, Mass. – Five men and five women from Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) institutions have received 2018 United States Soccer Coaches Association All-Region recognition, as announced on Monday the organization. 

FIRST TEAM: B Dalton Gaumer (Sr.), Saint Joseph's College of Maine - Riverside, Calif.
FIRST TEAM: F Brett Mattos (Sr.), Saint Joseph's College of Maine - Mahopac, N.Y.
SECOND TEAM: GK Blake Mullen (Sr.), Saint Joseph's College of Maine - Manchester, Conn.
SECOND TEAM: M Rory Twomey (Sr.), Saint Joseph's College of Maine - South Windsor, Conn.
THIRD TEAM: F Bienfait Badibanga (Fr.), Norwich University - Burlington, Vt.

FIRST TEAM: F Haley DaGraca (Sr.), Saint Joseph's College of Maine - Saco, Maine
SECOND TEAM: D Kaylin Deschenes (Jr.,), Emmanuel College - Lynn, Mass.
SECOND TEAM: F Carly Zdanek (Sr.), Lasell College - Newton, N.J.
THIRD TEAM: D Sabrina Morais (Sr.), Lasell College - Arlington, Mass.
THIRD TEAM: M Olivia Cairrao (So.), Johnson & Wales University - Bristol, R.I.

On the men's side, Saint Joseph's and Salve Regina – which has five honorees – are the only two institutions with four or more individuals listed on the three All-New England teams. 

Gaumer, a two-time GNAC Defensive Player of the Year honoree who collected United Soccer Coaches and All-America awards following his junior season, played in 84 games – including 83 starts – with five goals and six assists for 16 total points during his collegiate career. Over the last three seasons he has led an SJC defense that posted a 0.25 goals-against average with 17 tallies allowed in 66 games.

A two-time GNAC Offensive Player of the Year recipient, Mattos finished his college career as the Monks' all-time leader in goals (50), points (122), shots (208), and game-winning goals (18) and is ranked second all-time in assists (22). He played and started in all 85 of the team's games over the last four seasons.

Mullen, a three-time GNAC Goalkeeper of the Year honoree and 2017 Second Team All-American, posted a 58-6-7 record with 36 shutouts and a 0.31 goals-against average in 71 career games. The three-year starter allowed 21 goals and made 169 saves in nearly 6,078 minutes for an .889 save percentage and is the Monks' all-time leader in wins, shutouts, save percentage, goals-against average, minutes, and games.

Mullen's 0.31 career goals-against average is the lowest in the history of NCAA Men's Soccer – all three divisions – and last fall the 6'8" keeper set new NCAA single-season records for goals against average (0.05) and save percentage (.983) while shattering the NCAA record with 1,706:09 consecutive minutes of shutout play.

Twomey, a three-time All-Conference honoree, tallied five goals and two assists with four game-winners over 85 career games – including 82 starts – over the last four seasons. The well-deserved regional accolade is the first of his collegiate career.

The SJC men's soccer team, led by fifth-year Head Coach Adrian Dubois, registered another historic season this fall setting program records for wins (21), winning streak (21), goals (81), assists (64), points (226), and shots (513) and, with a loss to Amherst College in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, saw a 42-game undefeated streak – the fifth-longest in NCAA DIII Men's Soccer history – come to a close.

Saint Joseph's is the only New England NCAA DIII Men's Soccer program – and one of just seven in the country – to advance to the second round of the national tournament in each of the last three seasons. Since 2016, the Monks rank fifth in NCAA DIII Men's Soccer in total wins (55) and winning percentage (.833).

The Norwich program has now had at least one United Soccer Coaches All-New England honoree in 11 of the last 12 seasons. Badibanga became the first player since Roger Motaze in 2007 and just the fourth overall in program history to be named the GNAC Rookie of the Year. Badibanga joined Motaze, Rob Harlow and Sani Siric as the only players to win the GNAC's top rookie honor. 

Badibanga led Norwich with 11 goals and three assists for 25 points en route to earning GNAC First Team All-Conference honors. His 11 goals tied for the GNAC lead with GNAC Offensive Player of the Year Brett Mattos from Saint Joseph's (Maine), while his 25 points ranked third behind Mattos and SJC's Cody Elliott, who each had 26 points. 

Badibanga was named the GNAC Player and Rookie of the Week twice during the season and had two hat tricks in his inaugural season in the Maroon & Gold. 

Badibanga is the first selection for Norwich to the USC All-New England teams since Moab Schiers and Jacob Zimmerman each earned the honor in 2016. 

Norwich closed the 2018 season with an 11-3-4 record and lost in the GNAC Semifinals to Johnson & Wales. The Cadets made it to at least the GNAC Semifinal round for the 15th straight season and have now posted 13 straight seasons with 10 or more wins.

Courtesy of SJC & Norwich Athletics Communications.

DaGraca, a Second Team All-New England honoree last fall, collects First Team acclaim after leading the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) in goals (19), points (44), and game-winning goals (7) this fall.

The four-time First Team All-GNAC honoree and two-time GNAC Offensive Player of the Year recipient (2016, 2018) owns the team's career records in goals (70), points (155), game-winners (20), and shots (403). She wrapped up her collegiate career ranked sixth in both points and goals among all active NCAA DIII Women's Soccer players.

DaGraca is the only GNAC player to garner First Team All-New England honors. Lasell senior forward Carly Zdanek (Newton, N.J.) and Emmanuel junior defender Kaylin Deschenes (Lynn, Mass.) are listed on the Second Team while Lasell senior defender Sabrina Morais (Arlington, Mass.) and Johnson & Wales sophomore midfielder Olivia Cairrao (Bristol, R.I.) have claimed Third Team honors.

Bowdoin midfielders Julia Patterson (Hull, Mass.) and Morgen Gallagher (Norwell, Mass.), who claimed First and Third Team mention, respectively, are the only other players from a Maine institution to earn All-New England recognition.

Led by sixth-year Head Coach Jenelle Harris, Saint Joseph's - the #2 seed in the 2018 GNAC Tournament - claimed the first GNAC Championship in program history with a 1-0 upset victory at top-seeded Lasell College on Sunday, November 25, 2018 4th. The Monks faced #12 Swarthmore College in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in Pennsylvania and fell to the Garnet on their home turf, 5-1, on November 10th.

After becoming the first Great Northeast Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year in EC program history, Deschenes earns All-Region honors following a standout campaign that saw the junior transition from her forward role last season into the backfield. The move paid off as Deschenes powered the Saints defensive unit to the best backfield in the league, collecting a program-record 10 shutouts to go along with a conference-best 0.79 goals against average over 20 contests. Deschenes was also a force going forward, leading the GNAC among defensive players with 12 points on five goals and two assists. She was named to the 2018 GNAC Women's Soccer All-Tournament Team after helping the Saints post a 0.48 goals against average in the tournament.

This marks just the fifth time is the program's history that an Emmanuel player has earned All-New England honors. Kate [McKenna] Pelaggi '10 earned Third Team All-Region honors in 2007, 1st Team All-NEWISA honors in 2008 and 4th Team NSCAA honors in 2009 while Amber [DiNucci] Slone '11 also earned 4th Team NSCAA honors in 2009.

Deschenes is one of five players from the GNAC to garner All-New England honors. Saint Joseph's (ME) senior forward Haley DaGraca (Saco, Maine) earned First Team honors whole Lasell senior forward Carly Zdanek (Newton, N.J.) joined Deschenes on the Second Team. Lasell senior defender Sabrina Morais (Arlington, Mass.) and Johnson & Wales sophomore midfielder Olivia Cairrao (Bristol, R.I.) have claimed Third Team honors. In her three years at Emmanuel, Deschenes has played in 57 contests, starting 46 while registering 31 points on 11 goals and nine assists.

Seniors Carly Zdanek (Newton, N.J./Newton) and Sabrina Morais (Arlington, Mass./Arlington) were honored from Lasell, as both earned repeat selections. Zdanek was named to this year's Second Team after earning First Team honors a year ago, and Morais was tabbed a Third Team choice this year after earning Second Team honors last season.

A 5-5 forward and three-time First Team All-Great Northeast Athletic Conference selection, Zdanek led the team in scoring for the second straight year, finishing with 10 goals, five assists and 25 points. She scored two goals in four straight Laser victories in September, and ended her season tied for ninth in the GNAC in goals and 10th in points. A Third Team All-America in 2017, Zdanek completes her career with 44 goals, 20 assists and 108 points in 82 games, ranking fourth in program history in goals and points and tied for third in assists.

A 5-2 back and three-time All-Conference selection, Morais tallied four goals and five assists for 13 points this fall, tied for the team lead in assists and fourth in points. She collected three assists in a win over Anna Maria College, and she scored the game-winning goal in Lasell's playoff victory over Saint Joseph (Conn.). A four-year starter who played much of her career at midfield, Morais finishes with 15 goals, 11 assists and 41 points in 78 games. Morais was also Lasell's representative on the GNAC All-Sportsmanship Team.

Lasell finished the season with a 14-6 overall record under 12th-year head coach Vito La Francesca, and an 11-1 mark in the GNAC to capture the regular season title. The Lasers were upset by Saint Joseph's College (Maine) in the conference championship game, 1-0, breaking their unprecedented streak of eight straight GNAC titles.

For the second year in a row, Cairrao has been one of the top scorers in the GNAC. Last year's Rookie of the Year and this year a First Team All-GNAC choice, she ranks second with 15 goals and third at 33 points. The Bristol, RI native is second in the league with four game-winning goals. Named GNAC Player of the Week on October 29, she has five multi-goal games including two against Colby-Sawyer in the GNAC Quarterfinals.

Courtesy of SJC, EC, Lasell & JWU Athletics Communications.

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.