WESTON, Mass. – Regis College and Johnson & Wales University battled for the regular season title and the top seed in the upcoming Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Women's Lacrosse Tournament, with the Wildcats defeating the Pride, 17-8, Wednesday night at Regis Stadium.
Despite the loss, Regis (13-2, 10-1 GNAC) still enters the tournament as the second seed and will face seventh seed Emmanuel Saturday, April 27, starting at 12 p.m. at Regis Stadium. Johnson & Wales (13-4, 11-0 GNAC) clinched the top seed and will host eighth seed Norwich in another quarterfinal Saturday.
Kerri Anselmo (Natick, Mass.) led the Pride with three goals and four assists, including the 76th assist of her career to become Regis' all-time assists leader, passing the previous record of 75 career assists established by Sam Salamone from 2013 to 2016. Alyssa Kelly (Lee, Mass.) also notched a hat trick as she finished with three goals and one assist, and Brooke Ross (Hanover, Mass.) contributed two goals.
Anselmo set up Ross for the first goal of the match just under two minutes into the contest, but Johnson & Wales took control with five consecutive goals over the next seven minutes, led by Dani Lydecker with two goals and two assists in that stretch. Two goals and an assist by Anselmo allowed the Pride to close to within two at 6-4 with 11:22 left in the first half, but the Wildcats scored the final three goals of the half to extend their lead to 9-4 at halftime.
Johnson & Wales opened the second half with a goal from Maria Patane, but Regis answered a little more than two minutes later as Anselmo set up Kelly. The Wildcats scored three consecutive goals, two of them on free position opportunities, before the Anselmo-Kelly connection worked again for the Pride, cutting the Regis deficit to 13-6 with 20:13 remaining in the second half.
Patane and Allison Pazienski scored on free position attempts before Anselmo picked up an unassisted goal to complete her hat trick. Kelly found Ross for Regis' final goal of the night, and then the Wildcats closed out the match with two goals in the final 4:18, as Juliana Giello assisted on a goal by Pazienski before earning her own tally off an assist by Lydecker.
Pazienski finished with seven goals to improve her season total to 84 goals, while Lydecker collected three goals, five assists, six ground balls, and 10 draw controls. Patane also notched a hat trick with three goals to go along with five ground balls, and Marley Medina contributed two goals, two assists, six ground balls, and five draw controls.
Defensively, the Wildcats caused 16 of Regis' 27 turnovers, led by Lydecker with three caused turnovers. Brooke Greatorex (Gorham, Maine) played a solid all-around match with six ground balls, four draw controls, and five caused turnovers, leading the Pride defense as it forced 13 of the Wildcats' 24 turnovers.
Brittany McPherson (Lynn, Mass.) kept the Pride in the match with 13 saves, including eight saves in the second half. Cassidy O'Hara picked up the victory in net for the Wildcats as she finished with 10 saves.
The other two GNAC Tournament quarterfinals Saturday feature third seed Lasell hosting sixth seed Saint Joseph's College and fourth seed Colby-Sawyer welcoming fifth seed Simmons. The winner of the Regis-Emmanuel match will face the Lasell-Saint Joseph's winner in one semifinal, while the Johnson & Wales-Norwich victor takes on the winner of the match between Colby-Sawyer and Simmons in the other semifinal, with both semifinals scheduled to take place next Wednesday, May 1. The highest remaining seed hosts the GNAC Championship Saturday, May 4.