BRIDGEWATER, Mass. – First year forward Julie Saltamartini (East Hampstead, N.H.) scored twice to lead the second-seeded Simmons College field hockey team over number four seed Anna Maria College, 3-1, this evening to capture the Inaugural Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament Championship on Swenson Field in Bridgewater, Mass. The Sharks have won nine of their last 10 matches and improve to 13-5 on the season.
Simmons earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament with the victory and will await the announcement of the NCAA Tournament bracket due on Monday, November 10 at 9:00 a.m. to find out the next opponent. The AMCATS fall to 13-9 on the season.
The conference crown and the NCAA Tournament bid are the first in school history for the Sharks' field hockey program.
Simmons owned a 17-9 shot advantage, including 11-4 in the first half and registered seven penalty corners to Anna Maria's count of two. The Sharks scored all three of their markers in a 13-minute span in the first half.
Saltamartini cracked the scoring column for Simmons at the 11:13 mark when sophomore midfielder Amy Wilson (Falmouth, Mass.) found her in the left slot off a penalty corner, where Saltamartini scored in a scrum in front of the cage.
The Sharks increased their lead under seven minutes later when senior forward Kelly Williamson (Natick, Mass.) received a cross in the left slot from first year forward Samantha Rondeau (Franklin, Mass.) and converted a shot in traffic for her 11th goal of the year and a 2-0 lead for the home team.
The Sharks added an insurance goal just over six minutes later when sophomore forward Jenna Gagnon (Waterville, Maine) carried the ball down the right side and sent a centering pass in stride to Saltamartini, who potted her team-high 15th goal of the season at 24:10 to make it 3-0. It was the last tally of the first half as Simmons took a 3-0 lead into the intermission.
Anna Maria got on the board with the second stanza's only goal coming a little under midway into the half. Junior forward Kylie Dalbec (Portland, Maine) found sophomore midfielder Kaitlyn Moran (Leicester, Mass.) in front of the cage for her fifth goal of the season at the 49:56 mark. Neither team was able to score for the remainder of the contest as the Sharks came away with the victory.
Dalbec (1-1-3) and Moran (2-1-5) joined senior forward Nichole Lowe (Saugus, Mass.) on the All-Tournament team, along with Shannon Yoder (6 SV, .500 SV%) and Shaina Thompson of Johnson & Wales University and Kelsey Dumond and Theresa Hendrix of Saint Joseph's College (Maine). Senior back Avery Hines (Newburyport, Mass.), Williamson (1-0-2), Saltamartini (3-0-6) and sophomore keeper Brianna Rastello (Salem, N.H.) (9 SV, .750 SV%) were selected to the team from Simmons. Gagnon (2-1-5) was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player.