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MEN'S SOCCER: Johnson & Wales Advances to GNAC Title Match, Will Host SJC Saturday



NO. 1 JWU 3, NO. 4 USJ 1

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Johnson & Wales University men's soccer team survived another tough playoff match when they hosted the Great Northeast Athletic Conference fourth-seeded University of Saint Joseph (CT) Blue Jays on Wednesday at the Scotts Miracle Gro Athletic Complex.  With a date in the GNAC championship on the line, the Wildcats jumped out early to put three goals across and held the Blue Jays at bay in the second half to advance.  JWU will host second-seeded Saint Joseph's College of Maine for the GNAC title on Saturday at 1:00 PM.

Saint Joseph CT: 12-6-1 (7-3-1 GNAC)
Johnson & Wales: 16-2-2 (10-0-1 GNAC)

Statistical Leaders:
JP Rioux (JWU) : 2 goals, 1 assist
Gaetano LaBella (USJ) : 1 goal
Riley Spotton (JWU) : 1 goal

USJ: John Griffin (L, 7-5-1) 7 saves
JWU: Austin Scoggin (W, 14-2-2) 7 saves

Of Note:
The Wildcats did the damage early in the first half as Riley Spotton headed in the first goal at the 5th minute from a brilliant service from JP Rioux.  Spotton's header found the back left corner of the goal with very little the Blue Jay's keeper could do about it.  

Rioux's night would continue on the upward trajectory as he would score two more times unassisted.  Rioux got his first goal past with a shot to the back corner in the 10th minute.  His second goal was off a rebound that found the net in the 12th minute.

With the 3-0 advantage at the half, JWU would need to defend against a very motivated Saint Joseph's club who came out of the locker room with purpose.  The Blue Jays broke through at the 55th minute when Gaetano LaBella blasted a shot past Austin Scoggin to the back, left corner of the box.  

The Blue Jays would have a couple of more cracks at getting past Scoggins, but in the end the defense for the Wildcats held true and JWU advanced to the conference finals.  

JWU held the shot advantage 20 to 11 as well as in corner kicks 7 to 3.   

Next Game:
The Wildcats host the Saint Joseph's College of Maine Monks on Saturday for the GNAC Championship.  Kick-off is at 1 p.m. at the Scotts Miracle Gro Athletic Complex.      

Courtesy of JWU Athletics Communications.

NO. 2 SJC 3, NO. 3 NORWICH 2

STANDISH, Maine – Second-seeded Saint Joseph's College (16-1-3) edged #3 Norwich University (14-4-1), 3-2, in an evenly-matched Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) men's soccer tournament semifinal at the SJC Athletics Complex on Wednesday evening. 

With the victory, the Monks continue their quest to win a fourth-consecutive conference crown and will play at top-seeded Johnson & Wales University in the 2019 GNAC Championship on Saturday at 1:00 PM. The Wildcats defeated #4 University of Saint Joseph, 3-1, in the other semifinal contest tonight to set up a rematch of the 2018 GNAC title bout, which the Monks won by a 1-0 score in Standish. 

For Norwich, the loss signals the end of the 2019 season. 


The Cadets applied most of the offensive pressure early and grabbed a 1-0 lead at the 26:23 mark when Amerle Nemeye netted his 10th goal of the season on a penalty kick attempt, which was the result of an unlucky handball call in the box on senior Mitchell Duncan (Sanford, Maine). 

The Monks answered 11 minutes later when Cody Elliott (Gorham, Maine) punched home his second goal of the season off a Kuma Onyejose (East Greenwich, R.I.) pass. The play began with a long throw-in from the left side by senior Jackson Taylor (Gorham, Maine) with the ball being collected by Onyejose, who made a quick dish to Elliott and the senior chipped a close shot past Norwich keeper Robert Wagenseller (Poway, Calif.), knotting the game at 1-1. 

The seesaw battle continued in the second half, as the Cadets regained the lead in the 60th minute when freshman Joseph Thongsyhavong (Salem, Mass.) picked up a rebound and tapped in his 11th tally of the year. SJC junior goalie David Walbridge (Hampden, Mass.) stopped the initial shot, taken by Nemeye, but the ball popped loose and Thongsyhavong was on the spot to knock it in.  

St. Joe's answered again just over four minutes later when another hand ball foul in the box was called at the 63:43 mark. Taylor stepped to the line to take the PK shot and buried the attempt to the upper left corner, tying the game at 2-2. 

The PK tally seemed to ignite the Monks' ambitions and a counterattack 14 minutes later proved to be the difference, as junior Noah Elmore (Berlin, Vt.) potted the eventual game-winner at the 77:20 mark. Taylor set up the strike with a perfect deep lead pass down the right side of the field with Elmore, Wagenseller, and a Norwich defender converging on the ball at the same time near the top right corner of the box. Just before the trio collided, Elmore managed to kick a chip shot over Wagenseller and the ball slowly bounced into a wide open net to cap the game scoring. 


Walbridge made four saves in the SJC victory while Wagenseller turned away a pair of shots in the Norwich setback. 


Norwich held the lead in shots (10-8), shots on goal (6-5), and corner kicks (9-2) in the losing effort. 


Saint Joseph's is now 10-4-5 all-time versus Norwich University with tonight's victory extending the Monks' undefeated streak versus the Cadets to eight games. The five-goal output is tied for the most goals scored collectively by the conference rivals; the last time five goals were registered occurred when the Monks defeated the Cadets by a 4-1 margin on November 5th, 2011. 

Courtesy of SJC 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 22 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience. 

– #TheGNAC –